Health officials in Marion County, Indiana are hoping the Christmas & New Year’s break from school will also help break the back of a serious uptick in Shigella cases in the Hoosier State capital city area.

Prior to the winter vacation, Indianapolis health officials were warning residents to wash their hands after noticing "a spike in the number of cases of a highly contagious infection that causes bloody diarrhea and fever.


As it prepared to close out the year, the Indianapolis Star reported that: "So far this year in Marion County, there have been 107 cases of shigella, a bacterial disease transmitted only by humans. Last year at this time, the county had had 58 cases."

Star health writer Shari Rudavsky went on to report that:

"We have been seeing an increase in the last several weeks, so we’re concerned about that," said Dr. Crystal Jones, medical director of the acute disease program for the Marion County Health Department.
"We certainly want to nip it in the bud and control the situation before it gets worse."
Not only are county officials advising people to take particular care in washing their hands after using the bathroom and before handling food, they’re also asking health-care professionals to be vigilant in testing for suspected cases of the disease.
"And they’d like people who have symptoms of the disease to stay home from work or school to avoid infecting others and practice good hygiene to keep the bacteria from spreading to family members."
Marion County was the site of a huge Shigella outbreak in the year 2000 when there were more than 1,300 cases reported.   Most of its 2007 cases came late in the year.  There are about 18,000 cases of Shigella reported annually in the United States, according to the Centers For Disease Control.
The current round of cases have been centered in some day cares, schools and families.