August 1, 2005
KPIC 4 News Oregon
Roseburg – Douglas County Health officials are investigating a Shigellosis outbreak in Umpqua, about 20 miles northwest of Roseburg.
Seven cases of shigellosis were confirmed among the attendees at a private spiritual retreat center in Umpqua according to Bob Furlow, Douglas County Health Department Director.”There are additional unconfirmed reports of illness among attendees and other specimens are pending.at least ten retreat attendees became ill and were hospitalized at Mercy Medical Center for dehydration.
Shigellosis is a bacterial infection. Symptoms include moderate to severe diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Some people may develop bloody diarrhea.Appropriate medical treatment can sometimes shorten the duration and severity of the infection. Symptoms may persist for 3 to 5 days or more if left untreated. Even after symptoms go away, some infected persons will continue to shed Shigella in their stool for several weeks or even months. A stool culture is necessary to conform the diagnosis.
The source of the outbreak is currently unknown.The Douglas County Health Department and State Health Division are investigating possible sources of the outbreak.”The sit has been inspected and steps have been taken to prevent further exposure,” says Dawnelle Marshall, Community Health Division Director. “There is no reason for the general public to be concerned,” said Marshall. “The outbreak has been contained and was limited to attendees of the retreat.”
Shigellosis is an infection of humans only and is transmitted through contamination of food or water with human feces, or from direct exposure to human waste.Exposure to cattle or other animals or eating undercooked meat is NOT a source of shigellosis.Shigellosis spreads very easily within households and childcare facilities, particularly when there are diaper-age children. Some persons shed the organism even when they are not ill.The only way to prevent infection is to always wash hands well with warm water and soap after using the toilet, after changing diapers, and before preparing food.
By law persons who develop shigellosis may not attend childcare or work as food handlers until stool exams indicate their infections have ended.