James Mulder of the Syracuse Post-Standard reported to today that the Onondaga County Shigella outbreak has increased to 21 confirmed cases and 13 probable cases.  This is up nine from last week.

Dr. Cynthia Morrow, the county’s health commissioner, said her department has not yet pinpointed the source of the outbreak.

Many of those infected developed fever, painful bloody or mucous diarrhea and stomach cramps a day or two after being exposed to the bacteria, called Shigella. The illness usually clears up in five to seven days. Severe cases need to be treated with antibiotics.

About half of those infected are children under age 10, Morrow said.

The bacteria are present in the stool of the infected person. It can be spread to someone else if an infected person does not wash his or her hands before handling food and touching other people.

Morrow said her investigators suspect the infection is being spread through a combination of contaminated food and person-to-person transmission.

People with symptoms should contact their health providers and keep track of what they ate in the four days before becoming ill, Morrow said.

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If you or a family member became ill with a Shigella infection after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark Shigella attorneys for a free case evaluation.