June 3, 2005
Twenty-two cases of bacterial dysentery, also known as shigellosis, have been reported to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department since May 26.
Officials with the Health Department have notified physicians in Fayette County of the outbreak.
The disease is caused when people ingest water, food, or other materials contaminated by bacteria found in human feces. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and cramps. Young children are likely to develop severe symptoms faster than adults.
The most common way people get infected with shigella and develop dysentery is when they do not wash their hands after using the bathroom, before they prepare and eat food, after changing diapers of taking care of people who may be ill. People of all ages can get sick from this but it is especially common in young children in day care settings and at home where the disease can quickly spread.
The best way to prevent the disease in little children is to wash their hands with soap and water after they go to the bathroom, before they eat, after diapers are changed, and when they get home from day care.
If your child displays these symptoms, take him or her to your family’s health care provider.