The South Dakota Department of Health is reminding parents to protect their children from shigellosis, a common bacterial infection that increases in the summer.

Shigellosis is spread by eating or drinking contaminated food or water or by direct contact with an infected person. Kids in day care are at higher risk due to their frequent hand to mouth contact. People exposed to shigella may have mild or severe diarrhea or may show no symptoms at all.

“The single most important way to prevent the spread of shigellosis is to practice careful and thorough hand-washing after using the toilet,” said Josh Clayton, Surveillance Coordinator for the Department of Health. “It’s particularly important in child care centers because young kids are constantly putting their hands and other objects in their mouths, increasing their risk.”