Muskegon County health officials say shigella outbreak subsiding

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by Local reports | The Muskegon Chronicle

Thursday January 29, 2009, 11:04 PM

MUSKEGON COUNTY An outbreak of shigella in Muskegon County appears to be waning, according to health officials.

Shigella is an intestinal ailment that can last from four days to several weeks but can be treated with antibiotics. The local outbreak began in October, and 93 cases have been confirmed since then, according to data compiled by the Muskegon County Health Department.

The number of new cases dropped from 48 in December to 11 this month, said Ken Kraus, director of the county health department.

"We're hopeful that it's starting to slow down," Kraus said. "It's hard to tell if we're out of the woods yet."

Shigella causes severe diarrhea and vomiting.

Local health officials and volunteers have been visiting day-care centers and elementary schools with confirmed cases of shigella to demonstrate proper hand-washing techniques.

Shigella spreads from person to person when hands, objects or food become contaminated with small amounts of fecal matter from those who are infected. The bacteria then spreads from hand to mouth and via food and drinks.



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