By Nicole Pence

June 18, 2010 Updated Dec 20, 2007 at 6:17 PM EDT

It's a bacteria health officials in Marion County are noticing more often this year, and one out of ten children hit with the germ goes to the hospital. Nicole Pence explored shigella.

It's a highly contagious bacteria, and the majority of those affected are preschool aged children. Allen County's Health Department hasn't seen problems like other areas in the state, but that doesn't mean parents should brush it off.

Shigella is a germ that causes diarrhea. Other symptoms with this infection are: cramping, high fever, bloody stools, and vomiting. It is fecal – oral, so touching something contaminated by stool from a sick person can infect anyone. That means it's imperative that your child knows how to wash their hands well.

Standard wash time means the whole happy birthday song or reciting of the a-b-c's. Shigella can live for four days outside the body. That's why day cares and schools need to use bleach to clean toys and table surfaces.

Mindy Waldron/Allen County Health Dept.: "Shigella is a bacterial disease that is generally transferred from person to person by the fecal-oral route. Meaning somebody doesn't wash their hands well after they use the restroom and then they either touch food or another person or another little ones toy and then it makes them ill."

The tricky part of Shigella is even if you think your child is over it, as far as symptoms, they can still spread it for thirty-days. An antibiotic will take care of it, but again prevent it by good hand washing, with lots of soap, and warm water. Take the child to the doctor if symptoms continue.

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