Officials have officially placed Kansas City under the threat of shigella after the infectious disease has quickly spread and the state has seen to ten times more cases than usual this year. The number of confirmed cases due to the bacteria have seen a worrying spike in the last couple of months.
According to the state’s official Health Department, they often have an average of 10 cases per year, but have seen at least 16 between January and July. In the last two months, however, they found a whopping additional 134 cases that has placed Missouri under the possibility of an outbreak.
Shigella is an unsafe bacteria, closely linked to salmonella, that causes shigellosis and it’s one of the main contributors to diarrhea around the world, but also has a few other uncomfortable symptoms. It can cause abdominal pain, fever up to 104-105 degrees, cramps, blood in the stool or mucous, vomiting, watery diarrhea, and, in some cases, even seizures.
It can spread through direct or indirect fecal to oral contact, which makes it more common among young children in daycare centers or elementary school. So far, most of the cases involved kids, which has launched the state into a frenzy to warn all schools about installing preventive measures to stop its spreading among both teachers and parents.
It takes around 2 days after exposure for the disease to show symptoms, and the person is infected until the moment when shigella is completely diagnosed to be out of their system, which can take up to 4 weeks. Until then, it can easily spread even through something as easy as preparing food.
According to communicable disease prevention division manager, Tiffany Wilkinson, what is highly worrying about this particular outbreak is that they are “seeing three different strains that are resistant to certain antibiotics”, so doctors should be on the lookout of what kind of medications they prescribe.
It only takes a few bacteria to cause infection, which may spread very quickly to others. And, so far, health officials have not managed to find the reason or source behind the extensive infection throughout the state. According to spokesman for the KCM Health Department, they at least know that shigella has an outbreak pattern of occurring every 5 years.
In the meantime, the population is asked to take preventive measures to stop the disease from further spreading or happening in the first place.
They are asked to regularly wash their hands with soap and warm water, properly dispose of diapers of infected children, adults found with the bacteria should avoid preparing food, and all who have been diagnosed with shigellosis should stay away from pools, spas and shared tubs.
Image source: ncsdconnection.com