Shigella outbreak threatens Thanksgiving for some Grayson Co. families

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TEXAS -- We've been following the shigella outbreak in Grayson County for weeks.

Now, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, the health department is urging those who have the symptoms to not cook for others.

The shigella outbreak started at Sherman ISD and has spread to Denison ISD, as well as other places in the county.

Two new cases were confirmed Monday. Now, a total of 36 children and adults have been infected.

It concerns the health department enough that they're alerting county residents about food preparation.

The Grayson County Health Department is making a plea to those who plan to cook.

"Any adult who is normally going to prepare food for Thanksgiving, who has diaherra on today or Tuesday or Wednesday, we're going to ask them to not be the cook. Don't be the food preparer," Health Department Director John Teel said.

The recent shigella outbreak is posing a threat to this year's Thanksgiving meal.

Teel says there have been 36 cases of the bacterial infection since October, and he's concerned it could spread if someone with shigella cooks for others on Thanksgiving.

"Whatever they touch with their fingertips, they're spreading that germ called shigella," Teel said.

Shigella is an infectious bacteria. Symptoms include diaherra, fever and stomach cramps.

That's why Teel is advising anyone with those symptoms to have someone else cook the big meal.

"It's been a long time since I've asked Grayson County residents to not prepare a holiday meal, but it's too risky right now," Teel said.

Teel says if you do have the symptoms, don't hesitate to see a doctor.

"There are several antibiotics that will kill this bug and will shorten your suffering," Teel said.

The CDC says food contaminated with shigella does not smell or taste differently.

Your main defense against shigella is to wash your hands well and often.

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