New details released about shigella outbreak at Seminole County daycare

By: Michael Lopardi

Updated:

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - The Seminole County Health Department said 26 people were sickened during a shigella outbreak at a daycare last June.

 

This week, the agency released new details about the incident at Kid City USA on Douglas Avenue.

 

The symptoms, including diarrhea and fever, were mostly reported in children, but also some adults beginning June 19. The department said two parents were hospitalized, but not tested.

 

Five people in total tested positive for shigella, according to the agency. Only about one in four people impacted sought medical care and were tested, the department said.

 

Shigella is considered very contagious because it takes only a few bacteria to cause disease. According to the health department, daycare-age children are at most risk. Health officials stress proper handwashing to prevent the spread of the bacteria.

 

The county health department was not able to identify a patient zero, spokeswoman Mirna Chamorro said. The investigation was closed eight days after the last case was reported.

 

Numbers from the Florida Department of Health show shigella cases are on the rise. Seminole County reported two cases in 2016 compared to 28 in 2017. There were 753 cases reported statewide in 2016 and 1,163 in 2017.

 

State health department spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said a new definition for reportable cases enacted in 2017 played a role in the increase. Health officials also said the peak numbers tend to ebb and flow.

 

Just last week, Seminole County Public Schools confirmed one case of shigella at Lake Orienta Elementary in Altamonte Springs.

 

As for the daycare, the health department met with staff during the outbreak to discuss cleaning and prevention measures. Channel 9 called the daycare today to discuss the incident but a woman who answered the phone said the owner was not available.

 

A report from the Department of Children and Families said the daycare director took all of the measures directed by the health department. Surveillance ended July 14 and no further cases were reported, according to the documents.

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