Childcare Provider Information on Shigellosis

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Ways to help prevent illness from spreading at daycare

Image of shigella postcard mailed June 2012 to MN child care providers

  • The Minnesota Department of Health has seen an increase in shigellosis cases in 2012, including several outbreaks in childcare centers.
  • Postcards were mailed in June 2012 to childcare centers and family childcare locations in Minnesota to remind providers about disease prevention measures for diarrheal illnesses like shigellosis.
  • Shigellosis is spread from one person to another when Shigella bacteria from the stool (feces) of an infected person get into another person’s mouth. This can happen when contaminated objects, like food or toys, are put in the mouth. Shigellosis can spread easily from person to person, especially in childcare settings where children play closely together.

Ways to help prevent illness from spreading at daycare

Follow strict illness exclusion policies

  • Children with diarrhea, vomiting, or fever need to stay home until recovered.
  • Children diagnosed with shigellosis must be recovered and either be on antibiotic treatment for 24 hours or have two stools test negative for Shigella before returning to daycare. Special restrictions also apply for several other diarrheal diseases.
    • For example, children diagnosed with E. coli O157:H7 or other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections must be recovered and must submit two stool samples that are negative for STEC before returning to daycare.

Wash hands

  • Use soap and warm running water for 20 seconds.
  • Monitor young children to ensure adequate handwashing.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after handling diapers, before preparing food or feeding, and before eating.


  • Clean and sanitize toys, objects, and surfaces at least daily and when soiled.
  • Clean and disinfect diapering area and potty chairs after each use and bathroom toilets, sinks, and toys at least daily and when soiled.
  • Water tables and other sensory tables can spread illness when children’s hands contaminate the water or play materials. Have children wash hands before and after playing at the tables; handwashing should be supervised to make sure it is done correctly. Clean and sanitize tables regularly.

Other information

  • Children with shigellosis should not use swimming beaches, pools, spas, water parks, or hot tubs until 2 weeks after diarrhea has stopped.

Do you suspect that you have a foodborne or waterborne illness? Visit reporting suspected foodborne/waterborne illnesses.

Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 01:26PM