(Undated) – Summer is winding down, but instances of two typically uncommon illnesses are on the rise in northern Kentucky.
The Northern Kentucky Health Department said Thursday they have seen 125 cases of Shigella since April and seven involving Crypto since June 1 in Boone, Campbell, Grant, and Kenton counties.
There are usually only 25 cases of Shigella reported in the region for the entire year, and just four cases of Crypto, scientifically called Cryptosporidiosis, in most years .
Five of the Crypto cases have been recorded in just the past week, triggering the department’s concern.
“Shigella has been circulating in the community all summer,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “While we have had some success in containing it through measures such as pool restrictions and education in child care centers, we continue to see new cases of the bacterial illness. On top of that, we’ve begun to see cases of Crypto, which has similar symptoms and is transmitted in a similar manner. With the start of school, several weeks remaining in outdoor pool season and two organisms that spread very easily from person-to-person, now is the time for us to be extra cautious about disease prevention.”
Saddler says it is not uncommon to witness outbreaks of the two diseases at the same time because they are so transmissible. They can be contracted from anything as simple as swimming in a poll or from a shopping cart.
To help reduce the spread, the department has contacted area schools and child care centers informing them about cleaning, prevention, and diagnosis. Pool managers have been educated about chlorination procedures. Doctors offices are more often considering Shigella and Crypto as possibilities when seeing patients showing symptoms.
You can also follow these tips to help prevent spreading Shigella or Crypto:
· Wash your hands frequently, including before preparing food, after using the restroom, after changing a diaper and before and after caring for someone who is sick. Rub hands together for at least 20 seconds, and use soap and water.
· Anyone who has had diarrhea should wait for at least two weeks after feeling better before going swimming.
· Don’t change diapers at poolside.
· Take frequent bathroom breaks while at the pool.
· When shopping and at other public places, utilize hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for carts when available or bring your own to use. If you notice that a public restroom is dirty, alert management.