Case of Shigellosis being investigated at local preschool

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Shawnee County Health Department (SCHD) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) are investigating a report of shigellosis in two adults and several children at a local preschool.

The Shawnee County Health Department said a letter was sent home Monday with students letting parents know what precautions to take if their children developed diarrhea or additional symptoms.

Misty Kruger, with Topeka Public Schools confirmed with KSNT News the incident took place at Sheldon Child Development Center in Topeka.

The letter said that children will be sent home if they have diarrhea. The school also asks that a child who “complains of a stomach ache and has runny stools” be taken to the doctor and tested for Shigella/Shigellosis.

Rachel Ramos has two boys that go to Sheldon. They’ve both been sent home because they’ve had diarrhea in the past two weeks. She said she was told they were not allowed to come back until they’ve had two clean tests for shigellosis.

So far this year SCHD has investigated twenty-five cases of shigellosis in Shawnee County with seven confirmed cases.

According to SCHD, Shigellosis is a gastrointestinal illness caused by the bacteria called Shigella. It is treatable and most people get better quickly. Symptoms associated with Shigella include: mild to severe diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and straining to have a bowel movement.  However, some people develop severe diarrhea and dehydration that may be dangerous to the very young, very old and the chronically ill.

Shigella bacteria are found in the feces (stool) of an infected person. It is spread by close contact and by eating or drinking contaminated food or water.  People with diarrhea should not go to school or work.

SCHD said aside from staying home, if you have diarrhea, other ways to prevent the spread of Shigella bacteria include:

  • Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating or touching food and after using the toilet or changing diapers.
  • Washing hands after caring for a person with diarrhea.
  • Not sharing food, drinks, spoons or straws.
  • Do not use a pool or swim in a pond if sick until two weeks after the diarrhea has stopped.

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