May 13, 2005
Two more cases of Shigella are reported in Jackson as officials continue to struggle to contain the bacteria 4 months after the 1st outbreak. With the new cases,the county now has 54 confirmed cases of Shigella since the start of the year. 13 of those cases have been in the last 2 weeks.
Health officials say they don’t believe the outbreak originated in the schools,but 27 of the cases involve students. Jackson officials says they’re still worried about controlling the spread of the disease.
Mary Ricciardello, RN Jackson County Health Department: “W e’re just worried about the infectiousness of this disease. We’re afraid that this isn’t just going to smolder, but I’m just hoping it doesn’t explode.”
The Jackson schools say controlling the spread of Shigella is now a top priority for the district. The Jackson schools actually were working to prevent the spread even before the 1st case was reported. They stepped up prevention methods back in November when the outbreak began in Lansing, b ut now with 27 students effected in Jackson, the schools are at it again.
Class is in session,the lesson of the day- washing up.
Linda Meeder, Jackson Schools Health Coordinator: “W e’ve been very aggressive with education and teaching kids when and how to wash their hands.”
In this case, the students are the teachers. Jevonnie Armistead and a class of 8th graders are spreading the word about the spread of Shigella.
Jevonnie Armistead, Parkside Middle School 8th grader: “W e would tell them about the germs and what they are caused by.”
The biggest cause for the disease- poor hygiene. The district’s pushing all students to wash up. The biggest hole in that line of defense-some students aren’t washing long enough. That’s why the schools are trying creative ways to keep kids at the sink. E ven for those student-teachers, these helpful hand-washing techniques are something new.
Stephany Trujillo, Parkside Middle School 8th grader: “B efore I’d done this, I’d never heard of Shigella before.”
And for Stephany Trujillo,teaching other students the importance of good hygiene has also been a lesson for her.
Stephany Trujillo: “I’ve learned a lot. I’m pretty cautious now whenever I wash my hands.”
And while 18 schools have been hit by the Shigella bug,only 27 students have been effected. Health officials are cautiously optimistic,but still on guard when potential cases pop up.
Maralyne Lectka, RN, Parkside Middle School Nurse: “I contact a parent and have them go home immediately. We’ll contact a parent and strongly encourage them to seek medical attention.”
The health department is also advising you to seek a doctor if you have shigella-like symptoms. Those symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.