The Coastal Health District has issued the following:
BRYAN CO., GAó Parents have a new resource as health officials continue to work with the Bryan County community to curb the spread of the Shigella bacteria. Shigellosis is a bacterial infection affecting the intestinal track, and symptoms often include mild to severe diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
Since August, there have been 36 confirmed diagnoses of shigellosis in the Richmond Hill area, mostly among school-aged children. The Coastal Health District has created an online survey for anyone who suspects they or their children may be infected. After submitting the questionnaire, parents will be contacted by an epidemiologist with the health district who can provide more information. The survey will also help the epidemiologists track the illness.
The web address is: https://sendss.state.ga.us/shigella.html
Meanwhile, the Coastal Health District and Bryan County Health Department are investigating cases that have already been reported. They are also providing information to affected establishments about how to effectively kill the bacteria to stop the spread. Additionally, physicians in the area have been informed, so they can look for Shigella in their patients.
The Shigella bacteria are passed in stool. Shigella are sometimes spread among diapered children, or by an infected person who doesnít properly wash his or her hands after using the restroom. Most people recover on their own within 5-7 days, but in severe cases hospitalization and fluids are sometimes necessary. Proper hand washing is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs. Teach children to wash their hands often with warm water and soap, lather for at least 15 seconds (long enough to sing Happy Birthday), rinse, and dry.
If you suspect an infection:
ï Fill out a survey at https://sendss.state.ga.us/shigella.html
ï Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
ï Wash your hands often, and donít serve food to other people.
ï If the illness is severe, see your doctor for antibiotics or fluids.
ï If the infection is in a child, report it to the school nurse or daycare provider.
If you have any questions about shigellosis, contact your doctorís office or Coastal Health District Epidemiologist Cristina Pasa at 912-644-5232. More information can also be found at www.cdc.gov.