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Shigella Blog

Surveillance & Analysis on Shigella News & Outbreaks

12 with Shigella Linked to Salsarita’s at Walmart

According to the Arkansas State Health Department dozens of employees at Walmart home office in Bentonville are overcoming an outbreak of Shigellosis.

KHBS reports the Salsarita’s Restaurant at the Walmart Home Office Cafe is closed while the Arkansas Health Department works to figure out how people got sick with Shigella, a food-borne illness that causes stomach trouble.  The health department conducted an inspection last Wednesday right after people started getting sick.

Inspectors found nine violations on that inspection.

Of those nine violations, five were marked priority, meaning they were concerns that needed to be fixed fast.

Some violations included, employees not washing their hands or touching cooked food without wearing gloves.

The report said raw chicken had been dripping on bottled drinks.

A second inspection was done Monday. Inspectors found seven violations, some of them are the same.

The health department has planned a second follow-up inspection for next week.

Walmart Spokesperson Brooke Buchanan released the following statement Thursday.

“Walmart is committed to protecting the health and safety of our associates. We recently became aware that several people fell ill after eating at Salsarita’s in the Home Office cafeteria, which is operated by Eurest. While the source of the reported illnesses has not been confirmed, out of an abundance of caution, Eurest has voluntarily suspended operations of the Mexican food bar. The Walmart Food Safety team is working in full cooperation with the Benton County Health Department and Eurest to determine the exact cause.”

Iredell County, North Carolina Struggles with Shigella

The Iredell County Health Department announced last Thursday it is seeing an increase in the number of Shigella infections.

Shigellosis infection is a highly infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella, the health department said. People infected with Shigella may have stomach cramping, mild or severe diarrhea, often with traces of blood or mucus in the stool and fever.

Some infected people may not show any symptoms. Symptoms occur from 1-7 days after exposure, but usually within 1-3 days. Symptoms last an average of 4-7 days.

Persons with any diarrheal illness should stay home from child care, school or group activities, and should not participate in jobs involving food preparation or healthcare until their diarrhea has resolved.

Routine and thorough hand washing and cleaning of surfaces in the above settings is important to limiting the spread of the disease.

Most Shigella infections are the result of bacteria passing from improperly washed hands of one person to the mouth of another person, often through handling contaminated objects or food. Poor hand washing and hygiene (especially after changing diapers or toileting) increases the risk of infection.

Shigella infections are particularly likely to occur among toddlers who are not fully toilet-trained, the health department said. Family members and playmates of such children are at high risk of becoming infected.

Healthcare providers are required to report Shigella infections to Public Health. Iredell County Health Department is following up with each diagnosed person to help minimize the risk of spreading the infection to friends, family, and other contacts.

People who experience diarrhea for more than two days should see their healthcare provider and ask about being tested for Shigella, the department said. This is especially true for people who had contact with someone diagnosed with Shigella.

Miami Seeing More Shigella Cases

Miami-Dade County health officials are asking parents to take precautionary measures to prevent the spreading of shigellosis, an infectious disease often reported in children ages 1 through 9.

The disease is caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella and is extremely contagious, the Florida Department of Health said in a statement Tuesday. It can spread from person to person and symptoms include diarrhea that is watery and sometimes bloody, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever.

In extreme cases, especially with children and seniors, the disease can lead to hospitalization due to dehydration, said Gigi Rico, an epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade. She added that the disease is mainly spreading within the household with siblings passing it on to each other and then infecting their parents.

“The young ones are probably the ones who allow it to continue,” Rico said, adding that the disease was probably introduced into the community due to a lack of hand washing.

The county has seen an increase in cases the past three months, officials said, with more than 100 confirmed cases reported since January 1. That is as much as the yearly average each year for the past three years.

Symptoms first appear within one to three days after contracting the disease, but usually resolve within five days to a week, officials said.

Texas Shigella Outbreak Tops 300

Three hundred people are now suspected of having shigella in Grayson County, according to health officials.

According to local press reports, it started among students at Sherman ISD, spread to Denison ISD and then to people in Van Alstyne and Pottsboro.

One of the most recent confirmed cases is a 5-year-old girl at Bells elementary school. Now there are concerns her classmates could become infected.

“We’ll have to take steps, necessary steps to try to prevent that from happening because it is highly contagious from what I understand,” Bells ISD Superintendent Joe Moore said.

Bells ISD tried to prevent the spread of shigella by sending out a memo to parents following the outbreak at Sherman ISD in October.

Shigella is still spreading.

The health department says shigella is contracted through ingestion and causes severe diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain.

“It’s important that once they experience those shigella-like symptoms that they report them,” Amanda Ortez with the Grayson County Health Department said.

Shigella is even taking higher priority than the flu in Grayson County.

“We have the majority of our personnel resources at the Grayson County Health Department at this time on the shigella project team,” Ortez said.

Moore asks Bells students and staff to keep washing their hands, while the district is doing their part.

“We will wipe down door knobs, desks, bus seats, you know, anything that kids come in contact with a couple of times a day,” Moore said.

Shigella in Cleveland Ohio

Public Health officials are seeing a rise in Shigellosis cases in the Cleveland area, especially among children. As a result, the Cleveland Department of Public Health is encouraging parents, schools, daycare centers, and health care providers to take precautionary actions to prevent the spread of Shigellosis.

Shigellosis is a highly contagious form of diarrhea caused by Shigella bacteria. Shigella spreads from person to person contact and may cause severe diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. Parents of children, or anyone with symptoms of Shigellosis should contact their healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

Symptoms may last from 48 to 72 hours and frequently include diarrhea (may be watery or bloody), fever, and stomach cramps. School aged children and children in daycare centers should not return to school until symptoms have ceased and laboratory cultures test negative for Shigella.

So what can you do? The best option is prevention:

  • Wash hands with soap carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before preparing food or beverages.
  • Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea.
  • Sick children AND adults should stay home until cleared by a doctor to return to school or work.
  • Keep children with diarrhea out of childcare settings and common play areas.
  • Supervise hand washing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet.
  • Dispose of soiled diapers properly.
  • Disinfect diaper changing areas after using them.
  • Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Shigella:  Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Shigella outbreaks. The Shigella lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of Shigella and other foodborne illness outbreaks and have recovered over $600 million for clients.  Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation.  Our Shigella lawyers have litigated Shigella cases stemming from outbreaks traced to a variety of sources, such as tomatoes, airplane and restaurant food.

If you or a family member became ill with a Shigella infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Shigella attorneys for a free case evaluation.

Texas Shigella Outbreak Tops 98

Four more cases of Shigella have been reported in Grayson County bringing the total countywide cases to 98.

Shigella began spreading in November mainly at Sherman and Denison ISD.

Officials with the Grayson County Health Department hoped that school winter breaks would halt the spread of the bacterial infection.

Amanda Ortez with the department says she believes children with shigella, home for the holidays, have been infecting their family members.

Siouxland District Health Reports 205 Shigella Cases

According to press reports, cases of shigellosis continue to grow in Woodbury County nearly two months after health officials reported an outbreak of the contagious bacterial infection that causes diarrhea.

205 cases had been reported to Siouxland District Health Department as of Friday afternoon. About 100 had been diagnosed in early November.

District Health Deputy Director Tyler Brock said the majority of the sick are children, but a number of adults have contracted shigellosis too.


Shigella Hits Texas Big

A Shigella outbreak continues to hit Grayson County hard. Health Department officials say new cases are being reported every day.

News 12 last reported there were 36 cases just before Thanksgiving. But, in just 13 days that number has jumped to 61 confirmed cases in Grayson County.

A command center has been set up at the Health Department, where they say employees are working to stop Shigella from spreading.

“It may never be known, but we are trying to determine how this started and of course how we can stop it, most importantly. Because it needs to be stopped,” Amanda Ortez said.

Grayson County Health Department’s Amanda Ortez says Shigella continues to make dozens sick in Grayson County.

There are now 61 confirmed cases of the highly contagious bacteria In people ranging from two years old to 72.

Shigella hits Iowa

According to press reports, cases of shigellosis continue to grow in Woodbury County nearly a month after health officials reported an outbreak of the contagious bacterial infection that causes diarrhea.

Ninety-five cases had been reported to Siouxland District Health Department as of Friday afternoon. About 20 had been diagnosed in early November.

District Health Deputy Director Tyler Brock said the majority of the sick are children, but a number of adults have contracted shigellosis too.

Shigella in Stanly, Cabarrus, Rowan, Union, and Mecklenburg Counties

There is a regional outbreak of shigella related illnesses throughout Stanly, Cabarrus, Rowan, Union, and Mecklenburg counties.  Cabarrus County has over 40 lab confirmed cases reported which is the highest number of reported cases in all these counties,” said Cindy Russell, Stanly County Health Department communicable disease nurse.

“We want to call your attention to this outbreak as many Stanly County residents participate in activities that cross county lines. As of this week, Stanly County has had two reported cases of shigella and one probable case.”

Shigella is a highly infectious disease. Most of those that are infected with shigella develop watery stools, fever and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria, according to the health department. The watery stools are often bloody. Shigellosis usually resolves in five to seven days.

Most shigella infections result when basic hygiene and handwashing practices are inadequate. The bacterium passes from stools or soiled fingers of one person to another person, according to the health department. It is particularly likely to occur with toddlers who are not fully toilet-trained. Family members and playmates of toddlers are at high risk of becoming infected.

Shigella infections may be acquired from eating contaminated food. Contaminated food usually looks and smells normal. Food may become contaminated by infected food handlers who forget to or improperly wash their hands with soap after using the bathroom.

Stanly County Health Department staff is consulting with staff from the surrounding county health departments as well as the State Division of Public Health.   Health department staff has alerted the schools, day care centers and health care providers as to the incidence of this infectious disease.  Staff members are also informing them how to prevent the spread of this as it is highly infectious.