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Bacterial infection hitting Sioux City

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — At least 95 cases of a contagious bacterial infection that causes diarrhea have been reported in northwest Iowa’s Woodbury County.

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The majority of those sick are children, but a number of adults have contracted shigellosis, too, Siouxland District Health Department Deputy Director Tyler Brock told the Sioux City Journal on Friday.

Most people who are infected have frequent watery stools that could be bloody, as well as fever and stomach cramps, starting a day or two after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms usually last several days.

Woodbury County recorded a single case of shigellosis last year. But on Friday, 95 cases had been reported. About 20 of those were diagnosed in early November.

“There’s always a certain amount of diarrheal illness going around,” Brock said. “This type of bacteria is a little more uncommon,” he said.

Shigellosis spreads rapidly at day care centers. Brock said the health department is working with operators to make sure healthy children are protected by keeping the sick ones at home.

Day care children with diarrhea should be tested, Brock said. It takes about 48 hours to get the results of a stool sample test. If the test is positive, he said, children will receive antibiotics from their doctor, then be tested again once they’ve finished the medication.

“They need two negative tests in order to return to day care,” he said. “This rule also applies to people who work in the food industry and people who work at a day care.”