The Westside Gazette, which serves the South Florida minority community, is out with a report on how Shigella is sweeping across the region.   The Gazette says:

Shigellosis — a potentially dangerous inflammatory disease of the bowel, and a cause of dysentary brought on by a group of harmful bacteria closely related to the Salmonella virus — is currently sweeping across Palm Beach County and South Florida with over-crowded minority and immigrant communities particularly impacted. At highest risk are infants and children as well as those with compromised immune systems.

After reporting on how a 13-year old Delray Beach girl is dealing with her bout with the bacteria, the Gasette adds this:

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Shigella bacteria (for which there is no vaccine) can easily be passed from one “infected person to the next,” and is commonly transferred through contact with feces and/or contaminated food.

Restaurants and fast food establishments are especially vulnerable. It is also frequently contracted and spread by infants and toddlers who are not yet completely potty-trained, especially those in daycare centers. Anyone coming in contact with a toddler’s dirty diapers is particularly at risk. Similarly, the risk of dehydration and convulsions in babies is of particular concern to health officials.

Approximately 25,000 confirmed cases of shigellosis are recorded annually in the U.S. among adults and children. Many medical experts including some employed with the CDC suspect however, that there may be upwards of a half million cases in the U. S. each year, with no reduction in sight.

For the complete report on Shigella in South Florida, go here.