CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Health Department is warning residents about an unpleasant and sometimes dangerous stomach bug called shigellosis.
To stop the illness from spreading this holiday season, the health department is reminding people to wash their hands so they share the joy, and not the germs.
The department is seeing a high number of cases of shigellosis, which is caused by bacteria often found in fecal matter.
"This year it's really starting to pick up at the daycare facilities, so we want to get ahead of the curve to make sure the daycare centers are informed on the steps they need to take to help prevent the spreading within their center," said Jana Rush, Chief Epidemiology for the Cleveland Health Department.
Ohio law requires daycare operations to fill out a form and report all cases of the illness.
Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps.
Dr. Leanne Chrisman from MetroHealth Medical Center hasn't seen many cases yet this year, but says the illness can rob your body of vital hydration.
"Food isn't as important but water, our bodies need water to maintain kidney function and other brain functions so it's really dehydration that gets us into trouble," said Chrisman.
The best way to prevent the illness is to wash your hands, don't prepare other people's food, stay home and disinfect diaper-changing areas.
"If a child has diarrhea, they should not be going to school or daycare. They should stay home until they are diarrhea-free for at least 24 hours," said Rush.
Symptoms of this illness can last two to three days, which is very similar to other stomach viruses that doctors say are also going around.