Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella (shih-GEHL-uh). Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Feb 10, 2016

Six confirmed cases of shigellosis possibly linked to Deer Creek State Park in Ohio

PICKAWAY CO, OH (WCMH) – Health investigators are working to figure out how six people in Pickaway county became sick and tested positive for Shigellosis bacteria.

Health officials say Shigellosis or shigella, is a bacterial infection.

A lot of people claim to have never heard of the infection, but officials say it’s easy to spread and fairly common.

“It causes diarrhea. Individuals who have it might have some stomach cramps and usually the person gets dehydrated,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts.

It’s passed from person to person and most often found in daycares.

“Kids come into the daycare center, we know how kids are with their hands and their fingers. They touch everything,” said Roberts.

Beaches, pools and other outdoor areas also prove to be popular breeding grounds.

“People are out there they are having fun and are swimming. They think they are in the water so their hands are clean when they go to consume something.Not realizing that their hands could still be contaminated.”

Dr. Mysheika Roberts says outbreaks can be in the hundreds if not caught in time. In 2008, there were more than 500 confirmed cases. But there is no specific reason why the number of cases fluctuate from year to year.  “It can be spread to other people before one person has diarrhea and realizes that they’re sick.”

The best way to prevent it? Washing your hands, and not just after using the bathroom.

“Before you consume anything, put something in your eyes, your nose or your mouth, make sure that you wash your hands,” said Dr. Roberts. Especially when handling dirty diapers.

Dr. Roberts says a lot of times adults aren’t washing their hands enough in between changing diapers. Despite it not being your average household bacteria, Roberts says it’s common and can spread fast. When the health department gets word of cases, they track them down. “If we identify a case that is ecoli or shigella and we find out they’re a food worker, we would call their employer and tell them they were not allowed to work until they are cleared.”

Other tips:

– shower before swimming. Chlorine doesn’t always kill all bacteria.

– don’t cook for anyone else if you’ve had diarrhea recently.

– stay home from work and don’t go out into public places.

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