Health officials warn of bacterial disease outbreak

Posted: Updated:

Rockland County health officials are tracking a highly contagious bacterial disease that has affected many kids who attend private Jewish schools and day care centers in the Monsey area.

Rockland Commissioner of Health Dr. Joan Facelle says 67 cases of shigellosis have been reported so far this year. No cases of the infectious disease were reported last year during the same time period. Facelle says the symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. She says the cases have been seen predominately, but not exclusively, in younger children. Those affected by the disease generally live within the Jewish community in the Monsey-Spring Valley area.

Health officials say the bacterial infection is easily spread from hand to mouth, especially among children who are still learning the basics of hygiene. They say the best advice to prevent the spreading of shigellosis is for people to wash their hands after going to the toilet and after eating.

Rockland health officials have been talking with schools and school rabbis. They have also sent letters home to families. They say though several children were admitted to the hospital for dehydration as a result of shigellosis, the bacterial infection is easily treatable with antibiotics.CDCRockland County Department of HealthRockland Health Department - 845-364-2997

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