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Shigella cases continue to mount in Sioux City

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The number of cases in the shigella outbreak in Woodbury County and Sioux City, Iowa continues to grow, according to the latest numbers from the Siouxland District Health Department recently.

The number of cases, according to the Woodbury County Reportable Disease Tracker, as of Dec. 11, has now topped 200, currently at 205 cases of the gastrointestinal bug.

This is up from the 155 cases reported just one week prior on their official Facebook page on Dec. 4.

Tyler Brock, with Siouxland District Health told Sioux City television station KTIV Thursday, "Get to your doctor and get a proper diagnosis because antibiotics do help with this. They help with systems, and they greatly reduce the amount infectiousness you pose to another person."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most who are infected with shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. The diarrhea is often bloody.

Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Persons with shigellosis in the United States rarely require hospitalization. A severe infection with high fever may be associated with seizures in children less than 2 years old. Some persons who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others.

More severe complications may include convulsions in children, Reiter’s syndrome and hemolytic uremic syndrome depending on the species of shigella implicated.

It is transmitted primarily by fecal-oral person to person means. It can also occur through contaminated food or water. Those primarily responsible for transmission are people that fail to wash their hands thoroughly after defecation.

Because shigella is resistant to gastric acid, a person can be infected with as little as 10 organisms.

The CDC has six simple steps to help prevent and avoid this uncomfortable, inconvenient and occasionally serious illness.

  • Wash hands with soap carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before preparing foods or beverages.
  • Dispose of soiled diapers properly
  • Disinfect diaper changing areas after using them.
  • Keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings.
  • Supervise hand washing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet.
  • Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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