Several newspapers and TV stations are reporting Shigella outbreaks in different areas today.  The first reported outbreak came from WQAD TV in Illinois, which reported on the Rock Island County Health Department’s investigation into an ongoing Shigella outbreak:

The Rock Island County Health Department says there are more confirmed cases of a fast spreading illness known as shigella.

There are now 35 confirmed cases of shigella.

Investigators found several of those in a trailer park in Barstow.

The next report came from St. Louis, which reported on an outbreak in St. Charles County among children attending day care centers:

About three dozen cases of a bacterial infection known as shigellosis have been reported in day-care centers in St. Charles County.

In addition, higher than normal numbers have been reported in surrounding counties in recent months, according to officials with the St. Charles County Department of Community Health and the Environment.

Because the disease spreads easily, the health department is taking steps to educate residents and avert a wider outbreak.

And the final report came from, which reported that children attending Carver Elementary School, part of the Florence School District, had been diagnosed with Shigellosis, and that the school district was notifying parents. 

Information on preventing Shigella infections rom

The spread of Shigella from an infected person can be stopped by frequent and careful hand washing with soap and water. The ill individual should practice this, as well as any contacts. Supervised hand washing of all children should be followed in day care centers and as soon as children return home. Young children with a Shigella infection, or with diarrhea of any cause, should not be in contact with uninfected children.

If a child in diapers has shigellosis, everyone who changes the child’s diapers should be sure the diapers are disposed of properly in a closed-lid garbage can, and should wash his or her hands carefully with soap and warm water immediately after changing the diapers. After use, the diaper changing area should be wiped down with disinfectant, such as household bleach or bactericidal wipes.

At swimming pools, maintaining a chlorine level of at least 0.5-PPM will kill Shigella. At swimming beaches, children not yet toilet trained should be excluded from public swimming areas; stay clear if this rule is broken. Children with diarrhea should never be taken to public swimming areas.

Basic food safety precautions will also help to prevent shigellosis. Shigella organisms are killed by heat used in cooking. People who have shigellosis or any diarrhea should not prepare food for others until they have been shown to no longer be carrying the bacterium.

Drink water only if it has been chlorinated (most tap water) or treated with ozone (most bottled water) and then you know it will not contain pathogenic bacteria. Consume only pasteurized dairy products.