Shigellosis cases spike in Indiana

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – More than 200 cases of a bacterial illness often spread by pool water have been reported in the state so far this year. Compared to last year there have been 10 times the number of Shigellosis cases this year across the state.

The bacteria is often spread in pools, but here in Tippecanoe County officials are saying you can swim with confidence.

“It concerns me very much because I have two children, so that’s most definitely a priority of mine — they’re safety,” father of two Terence Figueroa said.

The illness is spread through fecal matter and most commonly in pool water. Symptoms include vomiting, fever, stomach cramps and diarrhea. In Tippecanoe County, there have been five reported cases.

“Precautions usually fall on the people taking care of the pool itself,” Public Health Nurse Elizabeth Vanlaere said. “If you’re swimming in the pool, you’re kind of at the mercy of the people handling the chemicals in the pool.”

Lafayette Parks operations manager Jon Miner said they have it covered. Lafayette public pools are tested six times a day and once a week tests are sent to a lab for further testing.

“When we see challenges arise or occur, we’re able to address those quickly and make sure that anybody coming into our pool can feel confident that these forms of bacteria are not present in our pool,” Miner said.

Miner said they have a highly trained team of people checking chemical levels to keep you safe.

“Whenever we have incidents in our pool, we follow all the county health board’s health protocols for treating that and just to make sure that our patrons are well protected when they come to our pools,” Miner said.

Washing your hands regularly is just one way you can keep your family safe too.

“One of the things we really recommend and stress is that if you have been ill and have had diarrhea in the last couple weeks, that you should really avoid public swimming pools and that will help keep bacteria like that from being transmitted,” Miner said.

“We just change her diaper before we get in there and make sure she has a clean diaper because that could be a problem with other kids,” Figueroa said. “They’re not properly changing their children before they get into the pool.”

Figueroa said it’s comforting knowing the pool he goes to is carefully monitored for bacteria like Shigellosis.

“It makes me feel really good. This is the number one pool I’ll be going to, so that’s actually a good idea,” Figueroa said.

Symptoms usually last a few days. More serious infections may need to be treated with an antibiotic.

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