Sunday, June 27, 2010


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Thu 24 Jun 2010
Source: [edited]

The Allegheny County Health Department is warning everyone to
remember to wash their hands to guard against a bacterial infection
known as shigellosis that has seen a spike in cases in recent weeks.

"_Shigella_ bacteria are highly contagious. It can spread very easily
from person to person or through contaminated food, water or
beverages when people are not careful about thoroughly washing after
going to the toilet, changing diapers or caring for someone who's ill
with diarrhea," said Guillermo Cole, of the Allegheny County Health Department.

_Shigella_ causes bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Symptoms can
last for several days.

There are currently 97 cases reported in Allegheny County,
Pennsylvania, compared to a dozen cases for all of 2008. The Health
Department has been targeting day cares in an attempt to keep
shigellosis from spreading. "What we're doing specifically with day
care centers is requiring any worker or child with diarrhea to be
excluded until they have a negative shigella test and no diarrhea for
at least 24 hours," said Cole.

The outbreak began in October [2009], but cases have spiked in recent weeks.

"You could pass it to somebody else if you don't wash your hands, and
then they get it on their hands or they handle food that they then
ingest," said Cole. The health department is offering free stickers
based on satires of famous literature such as The Wizard of Oz and
Moby Dick reminding everyone to wash their hands.

Communicated by:

[The following is extracted from moderator LL's comments in a prior
ProMED post Shigellosis, imported sugar peas - Norway, Denmark: (ex
Kenya) susp. 20090626.2328:

"... from the US FDA (Food & Drug Administration) Center for Food
Safety and Applied Nutrition, Bad Bug Book

"The illness caused by shigellosis accounts for less than 10 percent
of the reported outbreaks of foodborne illness in this country.
_Shigella_ rarely occurs in animals; principally it is a disease of
humans except for other primates such as monkeys and chimpanzees. The
organism is frequently found in water polluted with human feces.
infective dose is as few as 10 cells depending on age and condition
of host. The _Shigella_ spp. are highly infectious agents that are
transmitted by the fecal-oral route.

"Associated foods include salads (potato, tuna, shrimp, macaroni, and
chicken), raw vegetables, milk and dairy products, and poultry.
Contamination of these foods is usually through the fecal-oral route.
Fecally contaminated water and unsanitary handling by food handlers
are the most common causes of contamination.

"Clearly unlike foodborne infections in humans due to _Salmonella_
(except for typhoid fever), _E. coli_ O157, and _Campylobacter_,
shigellosis is associated with food contamination with human, not
animal feces."

Allegheny County is in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
(). As
of the 2000 census, the population was 1 281 666. The county seat is
Pittsburgh. The state of Pennsylvania can be located in the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at:
- Mod.ML]

[see also:
Shigellosis, changing epidemiology - Canada: (ON) RFI 20100216.0548
Shigellosis, retreat center - USA (OR) 20050812.2364
Shigellosis - USA (FL) 20030929.2452
Shigellosis - USA (North Carolina) 20030713.1727
Shigellosis - USA (Texas) (02) 20030509.1156
Shigellosis - USA (New Jersey) 20020826.5153
Shigellosis - USA (Georgia): alert 20020624.4587
Shigellosis - USA (Iowa) 20010924.2316
Shigellosis - USA (Ohio, Kentucky) 20010815.1930
Shigellosis, toddlers - USA (Ohio) (02) 20010721.1419
Shigellosis - Canada 19970610.1214
Shigella, deliberate contamination? - USA (Texas) 19961119.1946]

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