TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) – South Central Public Health District warns the community of increases cases of infectious disease Shigellosis, also known as Shigella, in South Central Idaho Thursday.
In 2015, 17 cases of Shigellosis were reported in the region. Since the beginning of 2016, 14 cases have been reported. The infectious disease has been reported in Blaine, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Jerome counties.
“Many people are unfamiliar with Shigella and what causes it,” said Tanis Maxwell, SCPHD Epidemiologist, in a news release. “Shigella is a bacteria present in the fecal matter of an infected individual. The symptoms of Shigella are watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.”
The public health department continues to work closely with individuals who test positive for Shigella and investigate possible sources.
Shigella can be transmitted when people put something in their mouths or swallow something that has come into contact with the stool of an infected person, according to the news release.
This can happen when:
• Contaminated hands touch your food or mouth.
• Shigella contaminated foods are consumed. Food may become contaminated if any food handlers have Shigella.
• Swallowing recreational (for example lake or river water while swimming) or drinking water that is contaminated with the Shigella bacteria.
“This infection is a strong reminder of how important it is to wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food,” Maxwell said.