Lexington County school reports students having infections

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Lexington County school reports students having infections

Shigella bacteria 
Photo Credit:CDC

Shigella bacteria Photo Credit:CDC

Shigella bacteria Photo Credit:CDC

Shigella bacteria Photo Credit:CDC

Skye Shaw, staff writer

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A Lexington County school is dealing with students who are suffering from an infection that can cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Pelion Elementary School has confirmed cases of students with Shigellosis, which causes an infection in the lining of the stomach and intestines. Symptoms of Shigellosis include high fever, stomach cramps or tenderness and generally last 5-7 days.

School officials have denied rumors of an outbreak at Pelion Elementary. Officials at the school sent a letter to the parents of students, trying to assure them that the school is clean and healthy. Part of that process includes keeping students with symptoms at home until their doctor clears their return.nother step in preventing the spread is having  custodians do extra cleanings. They are using a DHEC-approved bleach solution on commonly touched surfaces, such as door knobs, tables, light switches, restrooms, faucets and water fountains. In classrooms with a student currently out with symptoms, janitors are also cleaning hard surfaces whenever the class leaves the room, according to school official.

“Our primary concern is always the health and well-being of our students,” Amy Wood, nurse coordinator, said in a letter to parents.

The school’s registered nurse has emphasized the importance of frequent hand washing and good hand-washing habits in order to reduce the spread of any disease, according to school officials.

Shigella causes gastroenteritis, which is an infection in the lining of stomach and/or intestines. Most people with Shigella infection have diarrhea with watery or loose stools, accompanied by high fever, stomach cramps or tenderness. Severe complications in the intestines and other body systems may also occur. People with mild illness usually recover without treatment. However, some people with severe disease may need medical care, including antibiotics and possibly hospitalization.

Shigella is easily spread from person to person, some specific ways include the following:

  • Touching contaminated surfaces and putting your fingers in your mouth.
  • Eating food or drinking liquids contaminated by an infected food handler.
  • Drinking, swimming or playing in contaminated water (especially in splash tables, untreated wading pools or shallow play fountains).
  • Shigella bacteria may be present in the diarrheal stool of infected persons while they are sick and for one to four weeks afterwards.
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