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      Increase in feces-related bacteria cases in Onondaga County

      The Onondaga County Health Department is investigating a number of cases of a gastrointestinal illness.

      It's called "Shigellosis." It's a bacterial, infectious disease that is caused by drinking or eating food contaminated with fecal matter.

      Commissioner of Health Dr. Cynthia B. Morrow announced Friday that there have been 15 cases confirmed in a lab. There are an additional 10 probable cases identified in Onondaga County, according to Dr. Morrow.

      Two people have been hospitalized because of the disease, according to Dr. Morrow. At least half of the cases involve children.

      Anyone infected usually develops fever, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Shigellosis usually clears up after about 5 to 7 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      Health officials say they have yet to identify the source of the illness.

      Officials are asking anyone with symptoms to see a doctor immediately.

      Tips for preventing the spread of Shigellosis:

      --Carefully wash all fruits and vegetables. Cook foods to the appropriate temperatures. Minimize cross-contamination of foods by washing cutting boards/knives and other shared surfaces.

      --Do not prepare food for others while ill with diarrhea

      --Wash hands with soap carefully and frequently, especially after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, and before preparing foods or beverages.

      --Supervise hand washing of toddlers and small children after they use the toilet

      --Dispose of soiled diapers properly

      --Disinfect diaper-changing areas after using them

      --Keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings