TWIN FALLS, Idaho (Press Release)-South Central Public Health District (SCPHD) is alerting the community of increased cases of Shigellosis, also known as Shigella, in south central Idaho.

During 2015, 17 cases of Shigellosis were reported.  Since the beginning of 2016, 14 cases have been reported.  Shigella has been reported in Blaine, Minidoka, Twin Falls and Jerome counties.  SCPHD continues to work closely with individuals that test positive for Shigella and investigate possible sources.

“Many people are unfamiliar with Shigella and what causes it,” says Tanis Maxwell, SCPHD Epidemiologist. “Shigella is a bacteria present in the fecal matter of an infected individual. The symptoms of Shigella are watery or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.”

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Transmission of Shigella occurs when people put something in their mouths or swallow something that has come into contact with the stool of an infected person.

This can happen when:

  • Contaminated hands touch your food or mouth.
  • Shigella contaminated foods are consumed. Food may become contaminated if any food handlers have Shigella.
  • Swallowing recreational (for example lake or river water while swimming) or drinking water that is contaminated with the Shigella bacteria.
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“This infection is a strong reminder of how important it is to wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food.” says Maxwell.

More information can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Shigella webpage