New Mexico Department of Health investigating increase in shigellosis cases

New Mexico Department of Health investigating increase in shigellosis cases
(Source: Raycom Media)

SANTA FE, NM (KWES) - The New Mexico Department of Health is investigating following an increase in shigellosis cases.

Officials said the majority of cases have been mostly affecting Lea and Eddy County.

We're told among the 36 people who have been identified, the large majority were children associated with child care centers and their family members.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, shigellosis is a bacterial disease characterized by diarrhea, fever, nausea, and sometimes vomiting, cramps, and toxemia (blood poisoning from toxins produced by the bacteria). The diarrhea will often contain blood and mucus. The time between infection and the onset of symptoms varies from 1 to 7 days, but is typically 1-3 days. Possible complications from shigella infections include post-infectious arthritis, blood stream infections (although rare), seizures, and hemolytic-uremic syndrome or HUS.

Health officials also said that shigella is very contagious.

"If your child is sick, please do not take him/her to daycare.  This will only spread this illness to other children and their families," advises Secretary of Health Lynn Gallagher in a press release. "If you think that your child may have shigella, please take your child to their healthcare provider to be tested."

You can decrease your chance of coming into contact with shigella by doing the following:

  • Washing your hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing and/or eating food.
  • Promptly cleaning possible contaminated surfaces with household chlorine bleach-based cleaners.
  • Washing soiled clothing and linens.
  • Avoiding food or water from sources that may be contaminated.
  • Do not send children to school or daycare if they have persistent diarrhea.

You can find additional information about shigella at http://www.cdc.gov/shigella/index.html.

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