Doctors report increase in contagious stomach virus - WKRN News 2

Doctors report increase in contagious stomach virus

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Doctors in Middle Tennessee are seeing more and more cases of an infectious illness known as Shigella.

Caused by bacteria, symptoms of Shigella include vomiting, diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.

So far this month, the Metro Health Department reports nine documented cases in Davidson County, with four cases reported just Friday.

"There has been, it seems like, an increase in the number of bacterial infections, diarrhea cases," Dr. Andrew Pittard with Vanderbilt Children's Hospital told News 2.  "It does appear we've seen more cases of documented Shigella."

Shigella is most common in toddlers and has been known to originate in daycare centers.

Hand-washing is the best way to prevent Shigella

"It's passed by having contamination of bacteria on one's hands, then passed on to one's mouth by feeding themselves and putting objects in your mouth," said Dr. Pittard.

Children should wash their hands as often as possible, especially after using the restroom and before putting food in their mouth.

It usually takes a week to recover from Shigella.

If symptoms linger, patients should see their doctor.

"Remember that nine out of 10 causes of infectious diarrhea is a self-limited illness caused by a virus, but if blood or mucus is in the stool, that is cause to be evaluated by a physician," said Dr. Pittard.

In Davidson County, seven cases of Shigella were reported in November, three in December, six in January and nine so far this month.

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