The Broward County Health Department is warning parents, schools and daycare centers to take precautionary action to prevent the spread of Shigellosis. ??Shigellosis is a highly contagious form of diarrhea caused by Shigella bacteria. It can spread through 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 health care provider for diagnosis and treatment. ??Careful attention to hand washing is the single most important measure to decrease the spread of the Shigella bacteria.??"We have noted a marked increase in the diagnosis of Shigellosis in Broward County over the past weeks," said Dr. John R. Livengood, Assistant Epidemiology Director at the Broward County Health Department. "We have a total of 52 reported cases so far this year, compared to 8 this same time last year."??Livengood said their main concern is that there have been 27 cases in children 5 to 9 years old and 13 cases in children 1 to 4 years old – ages where shigella bacteria can be easily spread.??Symptoms may last from 48 to 72 hours, frequently marked by fever, stomach cramps and bloody stools. School aged children, and children in daycare, should be kept at home until the symptoms have passed.