Shigellosis Cases On Rise in Kansas City, Missouri

Since Jan. 1, 2015, the local health department has investigated more than 143 cases with the majority of cases in children in daycare and elementary schools.

A rise in the number of reported Shigellosis cases in the Kansas City, Missouri, area, mostly in daycare and elementary schools, has prompted health officials to issue a warning to the public about taking preventive measures. 

Normally, there are only 10 cases of Shigellosis per year in Kansas City, but this year, the department has investigated more than 143 cases, according to a press release from the department of health.

Shigellosis is transmitted by direct or indirect fecal-oral contact with a person having symptoms. Symptoms include: abdominal pain or cramps, fever, watery diarrhea, stool with blood or mucous, tenesmus, vomiting and fever. Also, a “notable complication among young children may be convulsions,” according to the statement. 

Health officials are warning that even patients treated with appropriate antimicrobials may have stool carriage of Shigella for a few days.

“What is also concerning is that that we are seeing three different strains that are resistant to certain antibiotics,” said Tiffany Wilkinson, Acting Communicable Disease Prevention Division Manager. “It only takes a few bacteria, sometimes as little as 10 organisms, to infect someone.”

Officials with the health department are urging clinicians to instruct their patients to avoid foodborne illness by using common-sense approaches like: frequent handwashing, avoiding food preparation while infected, properly disposing of diapers, and avoiding public swimming pools when infectious. 

    The statement went on to define those people who require one or two successive negative stool cultures before returning to work or daycare. “They include:

    • Children who attend daycare – require 1 negative stool
    • Persons who provide daycare or work in daycare – require 1 negative stool
    • Persons who work as food handlers — require 2 negative stools
    • Persons who provide health care — require 2 negative stools.”

    The specimens for these tests must be collected no sooner than 48 hours after finishing any antibiotic, if prescribed, and 24 hours after the last bout of diarrhea. If two negatives are required, they must be collected at least 24 hours apart, according to the statement.