Intestinal infection spike in Philadelphia

February 5, 2009 3:02:52 PM PST
The Philadelphia Health Department says it's seen a dramatic rise in cases of shigellosis.

That's an intestinal infection that spreads easily from person-to-person.

In the past 5 months, nearly 200 cases were reported - 20 times the pace for a full year

.

Most were in children under the age of 10, their families, or their caregivers.

The last shigellosis outbreak in Philadelphia occcurred in 2003, when there were 600 cases.

People who have the infection pass the bacteria in the stool.

It is very common in young children, especially those who attend daycare or pre-schol programs.

While most cases of the disease clear without treatment, it can be a serious infection for children, leading to hospitalization.

The shigella bacteria causes diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.

To prevent shigellosis, be sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom, and before preparing or eating food.

Make sure children follow that practice as well.

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