2 Rowan Co. elementary students sickened with shigella

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - Two children in Rowan County are sick from shigella. Both of the children attend Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Elementary in Salisbury. Shigella is the same bacteria making dozens of people ill in Cabarrus County.

Both of the children attend Koontz Elementary in Salisbury.

Rowan-Salisbury School District Spokesperson Rita Foil said the district is aggressively working to keep the bacteria from spreading. All schools are encouraging hand-washing.

Classrooms, cafeterias and other buildings are being scoured for germs. Everything from doorknobs to keyboards are constantly being sanitized throughout the day.

"The things that children would routinely touch one after another, making sure we're hitting all those areas," Foil said.

In Cabarrus County, what started as a cluster of cases at Bethel Elementary School in Midland has turned into a county-wide outbreak and it's still spreading. As of noon Wednesday, the Cabarrus Health Alliance said there were 99 reports, 25 of which tested positive for shigella.

Tammy Jones has a grandchild in Rowan-Salisbury schools. She's glad to see the district is moving quickly to protect students and staff.

"The more aggressive the better," Jones said.

Doctors say the No. 1 line of defense against shigella is hand-washing with soap. If you develop symptoms of shigella, doctors recommend you stay out of school or work until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.