Seven cases of shigella infection have been confirmed in Thomas County — six in children and one in an adult.
Schools and child-care centers have been contacted by Southwest Georgia Health District 8 in Albany to alert parents that shigella infections have been confirmed in the facilities, according to Carolyn Maschke, risk communicator/public information officer for Southwest Health District 8.
A Southwest Health District letter to parents and caregivers says shigella bacteria causes diarrhea that is often bloody, fever and stomach cramps.
The infections are passed easily from person to person when basic hygiene and hand-washing are not adequate.
“Disease investigators and professionals from the Thomas County Health department and the Southwest Health District are working with the school to stop the infection from spreading,” the letter says.
A health-care provider should be contacted for diagnosis and treatment.
Sick children should be kept at home.
There is no vaccine to prevent shigella infections, but the spread of shigella from an infected person to others can be stopped by frequent and careful hand-washing with soap. Hand-washing among children should be frequent and supervised by an adult.
Shigella usually clears up in five to seven days.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.