LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Officials at the Fayette County Health Department say they've recorded more than 50 cases of either suspected or confirmed shigellosis. Doctors in the area say, with kids going back to school this week, there are some steps you can take to keep them safe.
Doctors say shigellosis starts out like any other stomach illness.
"It's a bacteria that's spread from person-to-person that causes most of the time just diarrhea," said Dr. Elizabeth Hawse.
Sometimes, though, it can become more serious.
"Definitely fever, you could get a blood infection from it as well. That occurs more in little babies or immunosuppressed people," Hawse said.
A spokesperson for the Fayette County Health Department said they've had a sharp increase in shigellosis cases. Last year, there were two cases. This summer, there have been more than 50 confirmed or suspected cases. Hawse says the sickness is easily spread among children.
"Kids that go to daycare because they're needing diapers changed. They're not toileting themselves. Also as the older kids go back to school. It's just something you really want to go over with your kids,"
Hawse said proper hygiene is the best defense.
"Wash your hands before you go to the bathroom and eat and that really will control most of it," she said.
Health department officials say if a child has tested positive for shigellosis, they can't go back to childcare until they get a negative stool sample at least 48 hours after taking antibiotics.