Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2000

Flu-like illness hits area youth

October 26, 2000

A disease similar to the stomach flu has made a resurgence in the county.

The Unified Public Health Department and Kansas Department of Health and Environment have recorded a rapid increase in the last month of Shigellosis cases in Wyandotte County.

We thought the outbreak was pretty much finished, said Casey Fickland, with the KDHE. Weve now have several cases V mainly in Wyandotte V larger than when the outbreak was at its peak in June.

In June, 34 cases were reported in Kansas City, Mo., 27 in Wyandotte County and eight in Johnson County.

Currently, health officials have heard of 45 cases, although only half have been confirmed. Two of those cases are in Kansas City, Mo., and Johnson County hasnt reported any in October.

The most recent outbreak appears to be here, Fickland said.

Shigella, a germ passed through fecal and oral systems, develops into the disease Shigellosis.

A person infected with the disease could have symptoms of diarrhea, stomach craps, vomiting, nausea, fever and muscle aches.

A lot of people get it confused with stomach flu, Fickland said.

Shigellosis can only be diagnosed by testing a stool sample.

Children are at the highest risk of contracting the disease. Many of the infections have been contracted at day care centers and schools.

Part of the problem is we are in the school season, Fickland said. A kid comes in contact with another kid at day care who is sick and then they go to school and pass it on to other kids and their families.

Health officials have put out a health alert because there is a potential for a more severe outbreak.

It could possiblly end up being worse than in June, Fickland said.

Although Shigellosis is treatable with antibiotics, prevention is the best way of fighting infection.

The best measure is for persons to wash their hands after using the bathroom and before handling food or touching their mouth. Parents and daycare providers should make certain children wash their hands with each trip to the bathroom and before meals.

Anyone who has symptoms related to Shigellosis or knows a family member who has these symptoms should contact their doctor or call the health department immediately.

The health department can be reached at (913) 573-6712.

Even if symptoms have subsided, people should seek treatment because they could still be infected with the germ and could infect others, Fickland said.

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