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Shigellosis Can Make Summer Swimmers Sick
Start Date: 6/16/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 6/16/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—Summer is here, outdoor pools around the State are open and Hoosiers of all ages are enjoying swimming. Unfortunately, shigellosis is already putting a damper on the fun. 


Marion County and surrounding counties (Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks and Johnson) are currently experiencing an outbreak of shigellosis. Shigellosis is a contagious diarrheal illness caused by bacteria called Shigella. This causes abdominal cramping, fever, vomiting and diarrhea.


“Every person who uses the pool has a responsibility to maintain a healthy swimming environment,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Swimmers should stay out of the pool if ill or recently ill, especially with diarrhea. This includes children wearing swim diapers, as swim diapers are not waterproof.”


Shigellosis is spread from person-to-person through the fecal-oral route. The germ can be transferred at pools or interactive water parks when people swim while currently or recently ill or by changing diapers poolside. People can also become infected by consuming food or drinks prepared by an infected person or handling or cleaning up stool.


Symptoms usually begin 24 to 72 hours after exposure and last about four to seven days. Some people may have no symptoms, but can still spread the infection to others. Most people recover without treatment, but severe infections may require antibiotics. Diarrhea can cause dehydration, so ill individuals should drink plenty of fluids. 


Shigellosis can be prevented by following these steps:

·         Don’t swim when you have or recently had diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.

·         Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers. Wash your hands before preparing food and before eating.

·         Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers in restrooms often, not at poolside.

·         Clean food preparation work surfaces, equipment and utensils with soap and water before, during and after food preparation.

·         Wash all produce before eating or cooking.

·         Limit direct contact with others as much as possible when ill. This includes staying home from school, daycare or work, especially if employed as a food handler or health care worker.


Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at for important health and safety information, or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at




Contact Information:
Name: Ken Severson
Phone: 317.233.7104
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    Health, Indiana State Department of

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