Published On: Tue, Nov 26th, 2013

Sioux City shigella outbreak tops 100 cases

The outbreak of the gastrointestinal illness, shigellosis, which started in October has eclipsed 100 cases, according to a KTIV.com report today.

According to the news source, Siouxland District Health Department’s Deputy Director Tyler Brock says the number of cases is now at 105.

Woodbury County, IA Image/Dave Benbennick

Woodbury County, IA
Image/Dave Benbennick

This is up from 98 cases just two days prior, and 26 cases in less than a week.

Health officials said on the official Facebook page last week:

“Spread is continuing in Sioux City with many daycares and elementary schools effected. We’ve also seen a number of cases that involved people that work with food as well. So this outbreak remains a large concern.

“Almost all cases are having diarrhea with a fever and abdominal cramps. Some cases have vomited, but many have not. Some have blood in the stool… but many have not.”

Brock says that six out of 10 of those infected are 10 years of age or younger.

Shigellosis is an acute bacterial disease of the intestines caused by several species of the bacterium, Shigella. It is typified by loose stools, frequently containing blood and mucus (dysentery), accompanied by fever, vomiting, cramps and occasionally toxemia.

It can cause bacillary dysentery because of the invasive ability of the organism that may result ulcerations and abscesses of the intestines.

It rarely spreads to the bloodstream.

More severe complications may include convulsions in children, Reiter’s syndrome and hemolytic uremic syndrome depending on the species of Shigella implicated.

This diarrheal disease is found worldwide with the vast majority of cases and deaths being in children. Outbreaks usually occur where there are crowded conditions and where personal hygiene is poor: prisons, day care centers and refugee camps are three examples.

It is transmitted primarily by fecal-oral person to person means. It can also occur through contaminated food or water. Those primarily responsible for transmission are people that fail to wash their hands thoroughly after defecation.

Because shigella is resistant to gastric acid, a person can be infected with as little as 10 organisms.

After being infected, symptoms usually appear 1-3 days later. It can be transmitted during the acute phase of infection until approximately four weeks after illness when the organism is no longer present in the feces. Asymptomatic carriers can also infect others.

Diagnosis is confirmed through bacteriological culture of feces. Treatment of shigellosis may include fluid and electrolyte replacement if there are signs of dehydration.

Antibiotics can shorten the course of infection, the severity of illness and the period of time a person may excrete the pathogen. Because of some antibiotic resistance, an antibiotic susceptibility test should be performed to determine which antibiotic would be effective.

The CDC has six simple steps to help prevent and avoid this uncomfortable, inconvenient and occasionally serious illness.

  • 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 hand washing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet.
  • Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page





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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Woodbury County Shigella outbreak continues to climb, total cases now at 155 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] a follow-up to the shigella outbreak in Woodbury County, Iowa, health officials with Siouxland District Health Department (SDHD) have reported the case count […]

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