Shigella outbreak continues to spread - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

UPDATE: 104 cases of Shigella in Grayson County

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UPDATE [Jan. 10, 2014] -- The Shigella outbreak in Grayson County has marked an milestone.

The number of cases confirmed has now exceeded 100. As of this afternoon, the total cases stands at 104.

The Grayson County Health Department believes the outbreak began at schools in Sherman in mid-October.

The number of cases has increased steadily ever since.

Shigella is a bacteria similar to Salmonella that attacks the digestive system.

Hand-washing and good hygiene are the best ways to avoid it.

UPDATE [Jan. 2, 2014] -- Ninety-three cases of Shigella have now been confirmed in Grayson County. The outbreak began in mid-October.

The Grayson County Health Department says the number of cases has increased consistently in recent weeks. It also says more cases are being confirmed in Denison.

The health department says it seems to be spreading specifically within households and at some Denison elementary schools.

The district is working to treat affected areas.

Shigella is a bacteria similar to Salmonella that attacks the digestive system.

Hand-washing and good hygiene are the best ways to avoid it.

UPDATE [Dec. 16, 2013] -- The number of confirmed cases of Shigella in Grayson County continues to climb.

Seventy-three people have now been diagnosed with the intestinal infection, up from 61 confirmed cases last week.

The outbreak began in Grayson County in mid-October. Many of those diagnosed are students.

UPDATE [Dec. 12, 2013] -- More cases of Shigella have been confirmed in Grayson County bringing the total number to 61.

Health departments in neighboring counties also have confirmed cases, but they are not being connected to the outbreak in Grayson County.

The Collin County Health Department says it's confirmed 23 cases between January and November. Six more have been confirmed in December.

In Oklahoma, the Bryan County Health Department says it's confirmed one case since September but adds that is not unusual. However, it says more people could have the intestinal infection but may not realize it.

UPDATE [Nov. 21, 2013] -- Thirty-three cases of Shigella have now been confirmed in Grayson County.

The Grayson County Health Department says 19 of those cases are students in the Sherman Independent School District.

The district has sent home notices to parents and has disinfected areas of the schools involved.

The health department is now sending information out to daycare centers notifying them of the outbreak, and how to reduce the risk of spreading it.

Shigella is a bacteria that attacks the digestive system. It can be avoided by washing your hands.

UPDATE: 19 confirmed cases of Shigella in Grayson County
UPDATE [Nov. 15, 2013] -- Six more cases of Shigella have been confirmed in Grayson County bringing the total number to 19.

The Grayson County Health Department says 14 of the 19 people diagnosed live in Sherman, 3 live in Denison, one lives in Howe and one lives in Van Alstyne.

The health department says 10 of the 14 people diagnosed in Sherman are students at Sherman ISD schools.

The source of the outbreak remains unknown.

Shigella is a bacteria that infects the digestive system.

The best defense against the disease is hand-washing.

[Posted: Nov 08, 2013 3:37 PM CST]
GRAYSON COUNTY -- The Grayson County Health Department says it has confirmed 13 cases of Shigella in Grayson County.

Health department director John Teel says the first confirmed case was October 18.

Eight confirmed cases are students within Sherman ISD; Six students attend Sory Elementary, one attends Fairview Elementary and one attends Dillingham Intermediate.

"I would've expected to see something in his backpack by now," Sory parent Danielle Hook said.

Sherman ISD assistant superintendent Tyson Bennett says the district sent a bulletin home with students at Sory Elementary on Friday notifying parents of the outbreak. Bennett says he first learned about the outbreak late last week, and that district acted quickly to stop the bacteria from spreading.

"We immediately started working on disinfecting and cleaning the campus that was involved in the situation and so, we took an aggressive approach to that," Bennett said. He said students were also shown videos on the importance of hand-washing.

Two toddlers, ages 2 and 3, have also been diagnosed, as well as three adults.

The Grayson County Health Department says one adult is an employee at Mooyah Burgers in Sherman. In a phone conversation Friday, a representative for Mooyah Burgers said, "The Mooyah associate was permitted to return to work by a doctor providing store management with a written release. The associate was working as a cashier for approximately two hours when a member of the Grayson County Health Department informed store management that the associate had been diagnosed with Shigella. Supervisors in the store immediately removed the associate and ended her shift."

"Shigella, a lot of people has not heard that term before but most of us have heard of Salmonella and we've heard about E. Coli, and they're all three very related," Teel said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria. The diarrhea is often bloody. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days. Persons with shigellosis in the United States rarely require hospitalization. A severe infection with high fever may be associated with seizures in children less than 2 years old. Some persons who are infected may have no symptoms at all, but may still pass the Shigella bacteria to others."

Every year, about 14,000 cases of shigellosis are reported in the United States, according to the CDC. Teel says 2,000 cases are reported in Texas annually.

Two of the 13 people diagnosed with Shigella in Grayson County required hospitalization. Since being diagnosed, Teel says, all have recovered.

Teel says the source of the outbreak is unknown but likely spread when a student came to school sick.

The last confirmed case was Monday.

To prevent the spread of Shigella, the CDC suggests:

-- Wash hands with soap carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before preparing foods or beverages.

-- Dispose of soiled diapers properly.

-- Disinfect diaper changing areas after using them.

-- Keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings.

-- Supervise handwashing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet.

-- Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea.

-- Avoid swallowing water from ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.