Cleveland Ohio Shigellosis Cases on the Rise: Symptoms and Information

 cleveland, shigellosis, health, children

The city of Cleveland is issuing an alert to all citizens, visitors and families; the rise of shigellosis reported cases are on the rise, prompting for a health alert. There are symptoms and information provided to assist the public. The rise of cases has especially increased when it comes to children, this is an important alert to share for all travelers as they begin their holiday travel. Cleveland, Ohio has alerted schools and businesses of the situation, as shigellosis is highly contagious. This article will provide information on symptoms and next steps.

Symptoms to Watch for

Shigellosis is a contagious form of diarrhea which is passed through the Shigella bacteria. This can be spread through touching of another person who has the illness. Cleveland is reporting that a significant rise in the cases are coming from school aged children. It is highly suggested to never send children to daycare or any events while symptoms are present. The symptoms in relation to shigellosis encompass the following:

  • Diarrhea that may have strains of blood or mucus
  • Abdominal cramps that may become severely painful
  • Fever or rapidly escalating hot flashes
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Vomitting in conjunction with cramps or fever

Parents should be aware of this illness as it mostly contracted and passed between children. Contact a family doctor or visit the emergency room immediately if a child is suffering from bouts of diarrhea that is leading to dehydration. If cramping or diarrhea is followed by a temperature of 101 F or higher, seek medical attention. Cleveland took note of the spike in cases on the 18th and the Cleveland Department of Public Health immediately released a health alert. Be aware of the symptoms and information that can prevent the spread of this illness.

What to Avoid

Keep hands away the face and mouth without thoroughly washing hands first. If changing a child’s diaper, be sure to spend up to 2-minutes washing hands with anti-bacterial soap. It is not guaranteed that anti-bacterial gel will prevent the spread. Be aware of what food is being consumed and the location of its source. Contaminated food can spur this illness, making it highly contagious in the family and beyond. Stay away from indoor pools that may had been contaminated by an infected person.

In most cases shigella clears up on its own within 24 to 48 hours. It is best to receive a proper diagnosis from a family doctor who can advise of the proper methods to prevent spreading the infection. It can take up to a few weeks or a month for bowel movements to return to normal. Once the illness has been detected, address it promptly to avoid complications.

Possible Complications

Avoid spreading the shigella infection, continually placing oneself around infected persons or not following hygiene parameters can lead to the following, possible, complications:

  • Dehydration – can lead to excessive dizziness, sunken eyes and dry diapers for children. Not immediately seeking a doctor can lead to shock.
  • Reactive arthritis – infections can create issues in arthritic patients, causing inflammation in the ankles, feet, or even conjunctivitis (red-eye).
  • Seizures – high fevers in conjunction with the shigella infection can cause children to experience seizures. Contact a doctor or visit the emergency room immediately if this complication arises.
  • Rectal prolapse – in severe cases, straining bowl movements may cause the lining of the rectum to move out through the anus. Avoid pushing or straining and seek medical advice for assistance.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Visiting a doctor is the best next step when shigellosis is suspected. A doctor will more than likely, take a stool sample and perform additional blood tests. If the tests or stool sample reflect the Shigella bacteria, the doctor will advise of either a fluid rich diet or prescribe antibiotics. Many doctors will advise patients to avoid all anti-diarrhea medications, as they could worsen the Shigella infection. The spread of shigellosis may be a threat, even for individuals who begin to feel better.

There is no vaccination to prevent shigellosis, remaining aware is key. Be sure to wash hands before and after touching food, visiting the bathroom or handling a child. If someone in the home is infected, be sure to properly disinfect all clothes in a separate laundry bag and clean all areas of contact. Cleveland has issued an alert regarding the rise of shigellosis cases. This article is a brief explanation of symptoms and information to share with family and friends. Seek a family doctor for information pertaining to your specific situation.


Angelina Bouc

Cleveland Dept. of Health
Kids Health



2 Responses to "Cleveland Ohio Shigellosis Cases on the Rise: Symptoms and Information"

  1. mary   December 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I have no children and wash my hand with hot soapy water ,near compulsively……… but I have this the symptoms match. I’m angry when I called the drs office they did not know about this…….ugh what’s it going to take to find a good dr in Cleveland!!!!!!!

    • Li Bouc   December 20, 2013 at 1:51 pm

      Mary be sure to call the Metro Nurse line or Cleveland Clinic,to confirm! Hopefully, you get better fast.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.