Grayson County Health authorities released Friday a list of recommendations to help corral an ongoing outbreak of dysentery caused by the shigella bacteria. Shigellosis, as the malady is formally known, is caused by ingestion of fecal bacteria, often by children with poor hand-washing technique.

Grayson County Health authorities released Friday a list of recommendations to help corral an ongoing outbreak of dysentery caused by the shigella bacteria. Shigellosis, as the malady is formally known, is caused by ingestion of fecal bacteria, often by children with poor hand-washing technique.


"We now have investigated 79 confirmed children and adults with this intestinal infection," said Grayson County Health Director John Teel. "We need (citizens) to assist the Grayson County Health Department and our county’s school districts and licensed child-care centers as we work to stop this communicable disease outbreak."


The disease was first noticed in the county in early October, and has continued to spread despite aggressive education efforts by health officials. Teel said, anyone experiencing symptoms should assume they’ve contracted the infection and see a doctor.


"Those who have fever/diarrhea … should immediately be seen by a health care provider," said Teel. "If you work in the food industry, in health care, or in a child day-care center, call your supervisor and tell your supervisor of your symptoms. No employee in food preparation, in health care, or in child care should report to work with a diarrheal illness."


Local authorities stress that good hygiene is the key to preventing further spread.


"All Grayson County residents should practice excellent hand washing. Wash hands under warm running water with soap (any kind of soap) for 20 full seconds," said Teel. "If you or a family member is diagnosed with shigellosis, contact the Health Department and report the illness. This will help the Health Department track the outbreak and allow the Health Department to take steps to prevent others from getting sick."