By KAREN CAMPBELL
Assistant Managing Editor
Seven Auglaize County residents are among those affected by a bacterial
infection from a source in Celina, confirmed the Auglaize County health
Health Commissioner Charlotte Parsons, who confirmed the outbreak of
shigella this week, said the source of the food- and water-born disease
can be traced back to a wedding in Celina.
Most of the seven Auglaize County cases were within one family, Parsons
said. Several were juveniles, but none were younger than 15.
There were several other cases reported in Mercer County, but health
officials there could not be reached for more information.
Food, which was catered in for the wedding by a business which performs
that service and has a facility, was disposed of before it could be
tested, Parsons said.
“Without knowing what food it came from, it’s hard to trace it back,”
Parsons said of whether the business would be held responsible for the
outbreak. “Anyone can have it on their hands, and sometimes it’s found in
water and soil.”
She explained the bacteria, which grows best on food items such as meat
and mayonnaise, also can be found on ice.
“It’s pretty prevalent,” Parsons said, explaining that while it may be
more common to find in small doses, it takes more to cause an outbreak of
The wedding took place on June 27 with the first case of shigella
reported July 6.
Parsons said people who are sick with shigella will know. The symptoms,
which may mimic a stomach virus, don’t go away after 12 hours.
“They are very sick with it,” Parsons said of the major symptom of
diarrhea. “They will know they have it. They are sick for several days.”
She said with stomach viruses many people wait to seek treatment because
of the nature of the symptoms. Positive lab tests are required before
shigella can be confirmed.
“If there are underlying medical conditions, it can be very serious,”
Parsons said. “Like other gastrointestinal diseases, it can make them
weak and sick.”
She said there are treatments for bacterial infections such as shigella,
but other stomach illnesses, such as those caused by viral infections,
cannot be treated with antibiotics.
“Unfortunately when they come on, you don’t know what the cause is,”