Eighty-three cases of shigellosis, a bacterial disease, have been confirmed between Jan. 1 and June 12 at 10 child day-care centers in Salt Lake County.
Ilene Risk, an epidemiologist at the Salt Lake City-County Health Department, said Thursday there have been 22 suspected cases of the illness, which may cause diarrhea, fever and vomiting.Four of the 10 day-care centers, whose names have not been released, had very few cases, she said.
Risk said the number of cases is beginning to decline through cooperation between day-care centers and health department personnel, Risk said.
"We saw a real peak in the number of cases between mid-March and mid-April," Risk said.
She said two of the 10 day-care centers have been asked not to accept more children until the disease is under control.
"We expect that the two centers will be allowed to accept more children within about two weeks," Risk said.
The epidemiologist said shigellosis can resurface in day-care centers if hand washing and appropriate sanitation measures are not taken.
Shigellosis has a very short incubation period, usually one to three days.
She said the illness usually is most prevalent during the spring and summer. "The problem we're having with this outbreak is that about 100 percent of the cases have been resistant to the drug of choice, which is ampicillin. So we treat with other medications."
Utah Department of Health figures for the entire state show that some 283 cases of shigellosis had been reported through April, the latest month for which statewide figures are available. That is compared with 53 cases for the same period last year.
Dr. David Thurman said additional cases have surfaced during May and June, "but we don't have a final figure because some cases are still under investigation."
There are five Salt Lake County health clinics where children or adults may receive diagnosis and treatment for the illness.
The clinics, their address and telephone numbers (the clinics do not take patients without appointments): 3195 S. Main, 483-5455; 5255 S. 4015 West, Room 100, Kearns, rear downstairs, 967-4427; Copperview Center, 8446 S. 340 West, 255-7114; 2001 S. State St., Room S-2400, 468-2800; and the health department's city center location, 610 S. 200 East, 534-4666.