Arkansas sees increase in shigellosis cases

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Arkansas Department of Health says it's seeing an increase in a stomach illness that's typically spread at nursing homes and childcare facilities.

The health department says 568 cases of shigellosis have been reported since Jan. 1. That's compared to an average of 173 cases annually in the past five years in the state.

The disease is caused by the shigella (shih-GEHL'-uh) bacteria. The illness causes stomach cramps, diarrhea and fever. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1lTNqd7 ), an outbreak at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville last month possibly caused 213 cases of shigellosis.

Officials say the illness at Wal-Mart headquarters was spread through food served at a food court.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hand washing is the best way to avoid spreading the disease.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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