Health advisor gives update on Shigella outbreak - WNEM TV 5

Health advisor gives update on Shigella outbreak

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Source: WNEM Source: WNEM

Mid-Michigan is getting a fresh face in the fight against an illness on the rise.

Many residents are concerned as cases of a dysentery-like sickness continues to affect people in several counties, but especially in the city of Flint.

The Shigella virus is just the latest in a series of health concerns facing citizens living in the troubled Vehicle City.

There is still no answer on what is causing the outbreak.

"Shigellosis is a diarrhea disease. So diarrhea that can be bloody, stomach cramps as well," said Pamela Pugh, Flint's chief public health advisor.

Pugh is Flint's newly appointed health advisor. She said there are more Shigella cases in Genesee County than anywhere else in Michigan. The county has had 85 known cases as of Oct. 7.

"We known Flint is a unique situation. We're not going to let this be addressed by a case book or typically the case of these illnesses. So we're looking into research. I'm working with the scientific community. They have research that is going on," Pugh said.

Dr. Laura Sullivan said Shigella can be a waterborne bacteria.

"The group I'm working with is sampling the water. We're looking for legionella, bus also looking for other pathogens like Shigella," Sullivan said.

The best way to prevent Shigella from spreading is to wash your hands.

"Hand washing is definitely the best way to keep one person who has the disease from sharing it with another," Sullivan said.

Shigellosis is a bacterium that causes diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. It’s usually found in small children and is highly contagious.

The Centers for Disease and Prevention sent a team of federal investigators to Mid-Michigan this week to find out what’s causing the spike in the dysentery-type illness. The answer is still unknown.

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