We’ve been watching the Shigella outbreak in the Indianapolis area all winter.   The pace continues with 16 new cases this week and 15 last week.   The county’s health department marked the sixth month of the outbreak with a news release, which in part said:

Marion County’s Shigella outbreak has entered its six-month and local health officials are concerned that the highly contagious disease will gain momentum now that school-aged children have returned from spring break.

The health department has already received 16 new cases this week after receiving 15 new cases last week. More than 325 individuals, mainly pre-school and school-aged children, have been diagnosed with Shigella since the outbreak began in October of 2007. An untold number of others likely have the disease, but have not sought treatment from their health care provider.

During the last outbreak in 2000, Marion County experienced an increase in the number of cases from 15 just before Spring break to more than 120 in the weeks immediately following spring break.

In the release, the health department outlines its strategy of focusing on day care centers, childcare providers, schools, doctors and other health care providers with information about Shigella.   The education campaign, however, does not appear to be working.  The health department says:

Still, the health department continues to see double-digit new cases being reported each week. Bringing an end to the outbreak poses many challenges.

For the complete release, go here.