Shigella outbreak reported


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Friday, 17 July 2009

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 commissioner.
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 disease.
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,” Parsons said.

Last Updated ( Monday, 20 July 2009 )


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