Intestinal problems affect 14 schools and daycare centers in Galveston County

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GALVESTON COUNTY - Have you ever heard of shigellosis? It may be difficult to pronounce, but it's even harder to stomach.  Literally!

Shigellosis leads to gastrointestinal problems or major tummy trouble. The bacteria also causes fever and it seems to be spreading through Galveston County. It`s really common in schools and daycare centers. Lousy hand washing after a potty break is usually the cause.

"Shigellosis is primarily spread from person-to-person through hand-to-mouth contact with the stool of an infected person," says Scott Packard, public information officer for the Galveston County Health Department.

Since October, there have been 82 confirmed cases in Galveston County, affecting 14 schools and eight daycare locations. A whopping 34 cases are related to outbreaks at just two places:  a Texas City daycare and a League City elementary school.

Debra Spriggs is a bus monitor with the Clear Creek Independent School District. She says she interacts closely with the kids every day. This news is of great concern to her.

The good news is, this yucky illness can be treated with antibiotics, but only if caught early. Elaina Polsen, communications director with Clear Creek ISD says, "If a child is experiencing any symptoms such as, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps or nausea...they should stay home."

As infectious as shigellosis can be, it`s just as preventable. Just wash your hands with soap and water, and really scrub for at least 20 seconds. Good hygiene habits, especially with kids, can never be emphasized enough.....even if you have to bug 'em!

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