Cabarrus County health officials issued a plea this week for people suffering from a growing shigellosis outbreak to stay home from school or their jobs.
With the number of suspected cases in the dozens, Suzanne Knight of the Cabarrus Health Alliance said a key to preventing the spread of the bacteria-caused intestinal illness is avoiding those who are healthy.
“Most important of all is to stay home if you have these symptoms,” Knight said. “Keep your children at home if they are sick.”
“We have nurses in the public schools sending children home with symptoms to aid in keeping everyone healthy,” Knight added.
The illness was reported initially among students and staff at Bethel Elementary School in mid-October, but officials with the Cabarrus Health Alliance said Wednesday that “links to specific schools and institutions are no longer readily apparent.”
Authorities say 64 people have reported symptoms of the infection, with 21 of those confirmed as having shigellosis.
People infected with the shigella bacteria have frequent watery stools, fever and stomach cramps. The stools can be bloody. The illness usually lasts no more than five to seven days.
Those infected should return to school or work no sooner than 48 hours after symptoms stop.
Knight said fact sheets about the illness are being sent to all schools across Cabarrus County.
Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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