Shigellosis is an infection of the intestines that causes diarrhea. It is usually a mild illness, and most people recover completely within a few days. This disease is fairly common with an average of 1,300 cases per year reported to the Florida Department of Health since 2005.
The disease is caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. The infection is acquired by swallowing something contaminated with the feces of an infected person. This most commonly happens when an infected person does not wash his/her hands properly after a bowel movement, and then touches somebody else's hands or prepares food for others. Even persons without symptoms can carry the bacteria and pass it on to others.
After a person is infected, symptoms may develop within 1 to 3 days. A person with shigellosis may have:
Below are steps that your county health department (CHD) can take now to help prevent cases and facilitate early reporting of outbreaks from child care facilities (including summer camps).
Contact your county's Environmental Health Unit and encourage them to look for evidence of gastrointestinal illness outbreaks when inspecting child care facilities.
Coordinate with your county's Environmental Health Unit to send a notice to child care facilities to inform them of the increased shigellosis activity and advise them on prevention measures and steps to be taken in the event of an outbreak, including early reporting of cases to the CHD (see sample letter to child care facilities).
Send a notice to healthcare providers in your county to inform them of the increased shigellosis activity and remind them of reporting requirements. Remind healthcare providers that antibiotic resistance patterns change over time and geography. Community-specific antibiograms are useful in determining treatment.
Review additional information on recommendations and Guidelines for Control of Outbreaks of Enteric Disease in Child Care Settings
Enteric Memo (March 2012)
Sample letter to child care facilities alerting them of increased shigellosis activity and providing education
Sample letter for notifying parents of shigellosis for use when a case has been identified in a child care setting
Manatee County example newsletter article that could be distributed to physicians, schools, and daycares
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