Outbreaks

Flint facing outbreak of gastrointestinal illness, officials say

Shigellosis

Shigellosis  (CDC/ Dr. Sam Formal, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research)

Heath officials say Genesee County, which includes the city of Flint, has seen dozens of cases of a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness this year.

The Detroit News reports state records show Genesee County had 84 cases of shigellosis through September, while Saginaw County had 47.

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Jennifer Eisner, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, says more than half of the Genesee County cases are in Flint. Eisner says the state health department has been in contact with Genesee County health officials since May about the illnesses.

Last month, the Genesee County Health Department issued a warning about shigella, the bacteria that causes the illness. Diarrhea, fever, vomiting and stomach cramps may occur. Hand-washing is encouraged as a way to stop the bacteria's spread.