BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. -

The Florida Department of Health issued an alert Wednesday in an effort to stop the spread of Shigellosis, a highly contagious form of diarrhea.

The Shigella bacteria can spread through person to person contact and may cause severe diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps. Symptoms may last from 48 to 72 hours.

Health officials reported eight cases this week and 33 possible cases. They advised parents, teachers, and day care workers to encourage hand washing to stop the spread of the bacteria.

Children with Shigellosis should be taken out of school until symptoms have ceased.