Dr. Shanik: Lakewood Has Many Cases Of Shigella

Lakewood’s leading Pediatrician Dr. Reuven Shanik has confirmed to TLS that “there are many cases” of Shigella currently going around in Lakewood. An outbreak of Shigella – a bacterial illness causing diarrhea – began in August in Brooklyn, NY (Williamsburg and Boro Park), Dr. Mendel E. Singer, Ph.D. and Director of the Jewish Community Health Initiative in Cleveland, told TLS in a recent Health Advisory release.

Singer says it has since spread to Lakewood and Cleveland, but could have spread further with the recent mid-Winter break.

“As Jewish day schools have their mid-winter break, many families are traveling”, Singer says. “This provides an opportunity, G-d forbid, for the disease to spread to other communities.”

Transmission is through the fecal-oral route. Trace amounts of bacteria-containing stool come in contact with someone’s hands, and the hands touch the mouth or food, or a surface that another person’s hands later touch. The infection can be passed on to others for possibly up to one month after symptoms.

Symptoms include diarrhea, often with fever or stomach cramps, usually lasting 5-7 days. Diarrhea is sometimes bloody. Some have no symptoms, yet can still transmit the disease to others.

Kids aged 2-6 are at highest risk, but even adults get Shigella. Among Orthodox Jews, transmission is usually from a child to another child, teacher or parent. Transmission is most common in daycare/pre-school settings.

Dr. Shanik tells TLS that the community should be carfeul to wash their hands with soap.

Playgroups, says Dr. Shanik, should keep their bathrooms clean and make sure to have liquid soap and paper towels, and kids should be careful not to share food.

Dr. Singer offered the following tips:

1. Make sure that after using the bathroom, children wipe themselves properly (and the toilet seat is clean), and immediately wash their hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds.

2. Wash hands with warm water and soap or use alcohol based hand sanitizer carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing food or beverages.

3. After using the bathroom, is not sufficient. Warm water and soap is necessary.

4. Keep soap available at all washing areas, including liquid soap for Shabbos.

5. Have Shabbos-friendly diaper wipes available.

6. Make sure children are wearing the proper size diaper.

7. Disinfect diaper changing areas after using them.

8. Dispose of soiled diapers in closed lid containers.

9. Keep children with diarrhea out of child care settings.

10. Children should not go swimming for at least 2 weeks after symptoms subside. TLS.


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  1. Thanks TLS for posting this…

    I have question with tip #5: “Have Shabbos-friendly diaper wipes available”

    …can someone tell me what Shabbos friendly wipes are? Are there baby wipes which most Poskim hold are “Muttar” to use on Shabbos?

    Maybe I am misinformed, but the Poskim I’ve asked told me I can not use any baby wipes on Shabbos.

  2. Attention people. I know its the custom of orthodox jewish people to wash their hands with a cup after using the bathroom. i have observed many people leaving the bathroom and just pouring water from a cup onto their hands and leaving. I understand customs but please do your customary hand washing and then use soap.

  3. Logger, I have seen gentiles leave the bathrooms at rest stops without even the benefit of washing their hands. Jewish people pour water with a cup after using hot water and soap!

  4. shigella is a lot more painful… and can leave long term effects. I think that the reason there is so much in the frum community is the closeness of age between the little ones. You have a 21/2 yr old newly toilet trained and a one year old crawling and loving toilets and you can’t be everywhere all the time! and it’s highly contagious forever and many docs won’t give antibiotics because there is a new strain that is resistant and they are trying to prevent that from becoming widespread. My baby got it in camp (kiddie pools are a big time cause – since baby diapers can leak into the pool and create the disease) and i was OCD til it was gone. BH no one else at all caught it and no one knew til it was over…

  5. I don’t know about you, but I wash with soap, dry hands, then wash with the wash cup. How can you wash with a wash cup (that would be used by others) with unclean hands? In fact, halocha dictates that your hands be physically clean before you wash ritually.

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