Feb 16, 2005
The number of confirmed cases of Shigella now stands at 15 in Jackson County, a nd while the number of cases hasn’t spiked, health officials say there is new reason for concern. Jackson County health officials sent out dozens of lettersupdating the outbreak.
Officials tell us they were faxed to all Jackson County fast-food restaurants and schools, t hat’s because of the 15 infected, 2 are food workers and 3 are area students. When officials at the Jackson County Health Department learned a few of the infected where food service workers, they took action.
Mary Ricciardello, Clinical Services Manager: “T he food service workers are a concern of course, because it is transmitted through contact.”
In the letter, the health department stresses the importance of reporting symptoms and excluding affected workers. It also highlights the importance of medical follow up, good personal hygiene, frequent hand washing and the extensive cleaning of bathrooms.
A separate letter was sent to all Jackson County schools, informing them of the 3 infected students. Included in the text, the same message.
Mary Ricciardello: “W e did fax all the schools, telling them what to look for, what to do in the schools, what to do if a student is showing symptoms.”
While the bacteria has only affected a handful of students and food service workers, Mary Ricciardello says it was important to inform everyone, allowing them to stay ahead of the illness.
Mary Ricciardello: “Because of the ease in which this bacteria is transmitted, we just thought it was important to keep this in front of people, especially high risks groups like food service workers and students.”
Symptoms of Shigella include fever, stomach cramping, vomiting and diarrhea. Officials say if your seeing those symptoms, contact your doctor or health department. While the disease is highly contagious, it’s also treatable.