Shigellosis is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Shigella bacteria.
The health department says Shigella is passed from person to person when there is poor hand washing after a bowel movement or diaper change. Infection can then occur by hand to mouth contact or by eating food prepared by workers with contaminated hands.
The most common symptoms are diarrhea (sometimes bloody), fever, and stomach cramps. Shigellosis usually goes away on its own in a few days and rarely requires hospitalization.
According to Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, hand washing is the best method of preventing the spread of shigellosis and many other communicable diseases.
Dr. Byers says if soap and water are not available, a hand sanitizing solution consisting of at least 60 percent alcohol can be used. He reminds adults to teach young children the proper way to wash their hands as well.