A new problem has developed amid Flint, Michigan’s ongoing water crisis.
Shigellosis, an infectious bacterial disease that causes bloody diarrhea and fever, is spreading throughout Flint.
Shigellosis typically occurs when people don’t wash their hands and with a continued mistrust of the water, Flint residents are now battling an outbreak of the disease.
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Many residents are bathing less and not washing their hands, opting to rely on baby wipes instead due to many still needing water filters and bottles of water because of damage to pipes.
Jim Henry, Genesee County’s environmental health supervisor told CNN:
“People aren’t bathing because they’re scared. Some people have mentioned that they’re not going to expose their children to the water again.”
Flint’s water crisis has been going on for more than two years with many experience hair loss and rashes due to high levels of lead in the water. The city also faced one of the worst outbreaks of Legionnaire’s disease in 2014.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms for Shigellosis usually subside after five to seven days without treatment, but is very contagious. Henry added that baby wipes aren’t sufficient when it comes to hygiene, but with people still afraid of the water, attitudes about hygiene have changed.
“Baby wipes are not effective, they’re not chlorinated, it doesn’t kill the bacteria and it doesn’t replace handwashing. People have changed their behavior regarding personal hygiene. They’re scared.”