Moberly School District saw increase in shigellosis cases in September; now declining

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MOBERLY - The Randolph County Health Department confirmed several shigellosis cases in Moberly Public Schools during September. It now reports that number of cases is declining.

The department said it saw a higher than average number of shigellosis cases in Moberly schools over the last three weeks. However, this week it saw a decline in those number of cases.

The Moberly Public School District sent home a letter to parents at the end of September confirming "several cases of shigellosis at South Park Elementary". It urged parents not to send their kids to school if they show shigellosis symptoms.

Shigellosis symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, nausea and abdominal pain. Shigellosis is a diarrheal disease caused by infection of the bacteria "shigella".

Moberly School Superintendent Matt Miller said the school district sent the letter to parents to give them a "heads up" on the disease. He said the district wanted to keep kids safe during the several confirmed cases in September.

"We worked in close cooperation with the health department," Miller said.

Miller added shigellosis can be common in daycares and preschools, and he appreciates all the work the health department has done to treat the disease.

One Moberly mother said her child got shigellosis last month.

Lori Schoonover said the experience was a little scary, but the disease went away after about two days and her son is fine now.

"It started I think a month ago," she said. "He woke up with a really sore stomach and a fever of 101."

Schoonover said the school district handled the breakout as well as it could have.

"I thought they did a good job with everything, sending the letter home," she said.

Infection Prevention Coordinator Roanetta Rodgers said it is important to know how to properly treat shigellosis.

"The key to treatment is fluid intakes so you don't get dehydrated," she said. "So increase your fluids, stay home when you're ill. It is very easily transmitted from person to person, which is why we have more likely been having more cases than normal."

Since shigellosis is transmitted from person to person, Rodgers recommended removing yourself from public spaces if you think you have the disease.

"Stay home from school. Stay home from daycare. Stay home from work if you have signs or symptoms," she said. "Do not cook or prepare food for other people."

Miller said the school district will continue to follow up with the health department and maintain a clean environment at Moberly Public Schools.