Health alert: Shigella outbreak in Grayson county

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SHERMAN, TX-A health warning was issued for Grayson county residents Friday after health officials and Sherman schools report an outbreak of a highly contagious disease.

Friday, Sherman ISD sent letters out to parents notifying them of a Shigella outbreak in three of their schools.

"We do have three different campuses that were impacted. We have Sory Elementary that had multiple cases on that campus, five specific cases that I'm aware of. And we have two other campuses that only had one case, one student case in those particular campuses. They are Dillingham and Fairview Intermediate," said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tyson Bennett.

Grayson County Health Director, John Teel, said there are 14 reported cases of Shigellosis--an infection caused by the Shigella bacteria--that causes high fever, vomiting and diarrhea.

"We either catch it from someone we have close contact with, and it's usually children, it's usually young children who don't know how to wash their hands very well," he said.

That's why Bennett said they are disinfecting campuses.

"Last Friday, we cleaned into the late hours of the evening and throughout the weekend to make sure that we disinfect all those surfaces and have a good clean environments for all the student. We also started working with staff to make them aware of the situation," he said.

Teel said this is no typical stomach bug.

"You're gonna be pretty sick and with this type of diarrhea, there will be a lot of mucus and possible a lot of blood in it," he said.

Teel said the three adults work in the food service industry, but there's no evidence that anyone contracted the disease from the restaurants where they work. Health department officials are still tracking down the origins of the bug.

"We just don't think that at this time we have a common source where we continue to interview these patients and their families to see if there's something in common," said Teel.

To avoid getting the bug, wash your hands with soap and water.

If you're experiencing any of the symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

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