Shigella cases on the rise in Fayette County

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Fayette County Health Department is putting childcare centers on alert regarding an increase in cases of Shigella in the area.

The Health Department says they've seen 28 cases of the illness so far this summer. Last year, they only had two.

Shigella is a germ that can be spread person-to-person through contact with stool of an infected person.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department says if your child has diarrhea or has had it within the last couple of weeks, hold off on sending them to any one of Lexington's seven pools.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever and stomach cramps.

Diarrhea isn't only a symptom.

It can also lead to the spread of Shigella, especially if it happens in a public pool.

The City of Lexington's Aquatics Manager, Scott Sheets, says pools like Southland have specific protocol to prevent the spread of any harmful bacteria.

They test the chlorine levels once an hour, among other measures that take place after-the-fact.

In the case of a single stool released in the pool, the chlorine level is increased and the facility is shut down for a few hours.

"If it's a diarrhea incident, we put the chlorine up to 10 and close the pool,” said Sheets. “We don't really like to close the pool. We encourage parents to keep their kids at home if they're sick."

The best way to prevent Shigella is to frequently wash your hands, according to the health department.

The health department says if a child tests positive for Shigella, they can't attend child care until they're symptom free.
They also must have a negative stool culture at least 48 hours after antibiotics.

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