(SIOUX CITY, IA) It's often mistaken for the flu, a bacterial infection with nasty symptoms that's spreading across Siouxland. It's called Shigellosis. Doctors say they are completely different which is why it's important to get tested for it.
More than 40 cases of Shigellosis have already been reported in Sioux City and Tyler Brock with the Siouxland District Health Department, expects that number to grow.
"It's gotten into a lot of schools and it's gotten into daycares and eventually it will die down. We know that it will eventually but I will still expect the numbers to go up before it stops," he said.
Have you ever met somebody who doesn't wash their hands after using the restroom? Well, that's exactly how this bacterial infection is spread. So do what you're parents taught you and wash your hands otherwise the next person to touch the handle you touched after going to the loo could end up sick and the symptoms aren't pleasant.
"You're going to have the diarrhea but it's usually going to be associated with a fever in a lot of cases, not all. Some of the people that we have investigated have vomited, some haven't. Almost everybody has pretty severe abdominal cramps. Some people will have had some blood in the stool but not all," he said.
A simple antibiotic will get rid of Shigellosis but many people will confuse this bacterial infection with Influenza - a viral infection. Brock says they are two separate things entirely.
"It's not the stomach flu and I also want to make sure people know this is not Influenza, this has nothing to do with influenza or anything to do with flu shots," he said. "I know people use the flu for diarrhea illnesses but that's not what we're talking about here. This is a bacteria and yea if you go and you're actually tested there's various ways you can go and distinguish between different types of bacteria."
Brock says if you have any of these symptoms, stay home until they're gone.
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms associated with Shigellosis make sure you get to the doctor as soon as you can.