News 25, the NBC affiliate in Central Illinois, is reporting a Shigella outbreak is occurring in Tazewell County.   The number of Shigella cases so far this year stands at 18, and that compares to only one during the year 2007.

News25 reports that:

Shigella is caused by a group of bacteria that health officials say can be avoided by hand-washing, sanitary food handling and diaper changing, eliminating shared water play areas, and staying home when diagnosed. Those diagnosed with the bacteria are urged not to return to school or daycare for 24 hours after being symptom free.

The bacteria is spread through the fecal-oral route and is more typical in young children and those who live in crowded conditions.

Signs and Symptoms to look for are similar to the flu. Loose watery stools with blood or mucus, fever, headache, convulsions, and abdominal pain can be associated with the bacteria.

There is not a reliable link to the story.  News 25 can be found here.