Shigellosis is a highly infectious vomiting bug which is not something you want to catch.

An outbreak of the nasty stomach bug has struck down children in some schools across the country and parents are now being warned to be vigilant.

Teesside Live has had a report of a vomiting bug at a Middlesbrough primary school, although that is not a confirmed case of Shigellosis.

What is shigellosis and what are the symptoms?

Shigellosis is an infectious disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella.

The infection is usually passed from person to person and the illness is most commonly seen in child-care settings and schools.

The symptoms include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, fever and nausea.

The effects tend to last for around five to seven days and the diarrhoea can often lead to dehydration.

How do people catch it?

Hands being washed
Hands being washed (Image: PA)

The NHS says the bug moves from person to person through poor hygiene measures, for example not washing your hands thoroughly after using the toilet.

In the UK, most cases are spread through families and where people are in close contact, such as schools, nurseries, military bases and day-centres.

What if a child contracts the bug?

Children who have picked up the illness are being told to remain at home for at least five days until tests show they are clear.

What do you do if have contracted the bug?

Shigella can be very unpleasant but is rarely serious.

Treatment is mainly with fluids to prevent or treat lack of fluid in the body (dehydration).

Antibiotics can be useful for severe cases of shigellosis, for example where there is blood in the diarrhoea, because they can reduce the duration of symptoms, however, Shigella is often resistant to antibiotics.

It is important that if a child develops shigellosis symptoms, the family GP is contacted.

Children who have picked up the illness are being told to remain at home for at least five days until tests show they are clear.

How can I reduce my risk of getting it?

Practising good hand-washing is key. Wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food or eating, after going to the toilet and after changing nappies.

If you have the infection, avoid preparing food for others and wash your hands frequently. It is advisable to stay at home until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.

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