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Increase in Gastrointestinal Illness in Onondaga County
June 22, 2012


Increase in Gastrointestinal Illness in Onondaga County
Cynthia B. Morrow, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Health announced today that there have been 15 laboratory confirmed and an additional 10 probable cases of shigellosis identified in Onondaga County recently. Dr. Morrow cautions that more cases are expected as the investigation continues. Morrow explained, “Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. It is associated with consuming water or products contaminated with fecal matter. The incubation period is 1 – 3 days. Many people who are infected with Shigella develop fever, painful bloody or mucous diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 – 7 days. The disease is often worse in children and medical treatment is sometimes necessary in severe cases.”
The source of the Shigella has not yet been identified although we are currently investigating clusters of cases.   We are working diligently to identify the source.   In an effort to identify the source, we are asking anyone who has symptoms consistent with shigellosis to contact their health care provider for further medical guidance and for possible testing.   In addition, we are asking them to carefully consider what they ate in the four days prior to becoming ill.  
Tips for preventing the spread of Shigellosis:
§         Carefully wash all fruits and vegetables. Cook foods to the appropriate temperatures. Minimize cross-contamination of foods by washing cutting boards/knives and other shared surfaces.
§         Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea
§         Wash hand with soap carefully and frequently especially after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before preparing foods or beverages.
§         Supervise hand washing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet
§         Dispose of soiled diapers properly
§         Disinfect diaper-changing areas after using them
§         Keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings


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