St. Louis County is experiencing an increase in Shigella cases in daycare and school-age children, and the county public health department is asking for help fighting back.

Shigella, or Shigellosis, is a bacterial infection with a primary symptom of diarrhea, and other symptoms including stomach cramping, nausea, fever and vomiting.

According tot he public health department, Shigellosis is "very infectious and is easily transmitted from person to person." Because of the nature of the infection, they are asking parents, teachers and healthcare providers to follow these precautions to limit the spread:

  • The most effective method to stop the spread of Shigella is with proper hand washing.
  • Parents should make sure children with diarrhea do not attend school or daycare.
  • Schools, daycares, restaurants, and healthcare facilities should exclude individuals with diarrhea from attendance or work, and those individuals diagnosed with Shigella will remain excluded until released back to work or attendance by the local department of health
  • Every effort should be made to maintain the highest level of sanitation in each center by reinforcing the need for frequent hand washing and for the careful attention to disinfection of frequently touched surfaces.
  • If a person has been ill, he or she should refrain from recreational water venues for one week after all symptoms resolve.
  • If a healthcare provider suspects a diagnosis of shigellosis, it should be reported immediately to the Saint Louis County Department of Health by calling 314-615-1630 so that measures to prevent the spread can be rapidly undertaken.

For more information about shigellosis, click here.