Last month, we reported on a Shigella outbreak in New York’s Lower Hudson River Valley involving the Jewish Community. It was centered on Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam counties, just outside New York City.
Now it appears that outbreak has spread to the Borough Park and Williamsburg communities in Brooklyn. The New York City Health Department is working with Orthodox Jewish residents in those areas about an ongoing shigella outbreak.
Borough Park and Williamsburg so far this year have had more than 150 cases of shigella, and more than half the cases involve very young children.
The Alert issued by the New York City Helath Department makes no specific connection to the outbreak in the counties across the Hudson River. However it does say this:
Large outbreaks of shigella have occurred in recent decades in traditionally observant Jewish communities in Borough Park, Williamsburg and other parts of New York State, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland and Canada. Some 274 cases of shigella were reported in New York City in 2006, a rate of 3.4 cases per 100,000 people.
New York health officials have stepped up community outreach activities, working with rabbis and City Council members in the area . The alert says:
"We encourage residents to be vigilant about hand-washing," said Dr.Sharon Balter, Medical Epidemiologist in the Health Department’s Bureau of Communicable Disease. “Visit your doctor if you are sick, and stay home until you are well. It is especially important for children to stay home from school or day care when sick so that they don’t spread the disease to other kids.”