August 11, 2011: Shigella and Crypto Outbreaks Reported In Kentucky

Kentucky Shigella Outbreak – On August 11, 2011, the Northern Kentucky Health Department reported on two separate outbreaks of infectious diarrheal disease known as shigellosis and cryptosporidiosis, while encouraging northern Kentucky residents to take measures to protect themselves and help stop the spread of these illnesses.

According to public health officials, since April of this year, more than 125 cases of shigellosis, or Shigella infection, have been reported in Boone, Campbell, Grant, and Kenton Counties. In a typical year, about 25 cases of shigellosis are reported.

Shigellosis is an illness caused by a group of pathogenic bacteria known as Shigella. Symptoms of Shigella infection may include watery diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, straining to have bowel movements, and malaise. Symptoms may appear as early as 14 hours, to as late as 4 days after ingesting the bacteria. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5-7 days. Infants, small children, and seniors may be more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications.

Health officials also announced that 7 cases of cryptosporidiosis have been reported since June 1. Typically four cases of cryptosporidiosis, also known as crypto, are reported for the entire year.

Cryptosporidiosis, refers to a gastrointestinal infection caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. Symptoms may include stomach cramps or pain, watery diarrhea (the most common symptom), fever, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, malaise, malnutrition and weight loss (in more severe cases). Symptoms may occur 1 to 10 days after infection and will last for approximately 2 weeks in healthy individuals. Symptoms can be much more severe and even life-threatening in the immuno-compromised.

In addition to staying home from work and school, and avoiding swimming pools when ill, the Health Department recommends the following measures:

•Wash your hands frequently, including before preparing food, after using the restroom, after changing a diaper and before and after caring for someone who is sick. Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds, and use soap and water.
•Anyone who has had diarrhea should wait for at least two weeks after feeling better before going swimming.
•Don’t change diapers at poolside.
•Take frequent bathroom breaks while at the pool.
•When shopping and at other public places, utilize hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for carts when available or bring your own to use. If you notice that a public restroom is dirty, alert management.

Residents can visit the Kentucky Health Department’s web site at for more information.

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