CDC warns of drug-resistant stomach bug

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert Friday warning of the spread of a strain of the shigella bacteria that appears to be resistant to antibiotics.

In 2022, approximately 5% of shigellosis infections were drug-resistant. There were zero reported instances of resistant infections in 2015, according to the CDC.

The CDC’s alert says shigellosis usually causes inflammatory diarrhea that can be bloody and may also lead to fever and abdominal cramping.

The bacteria, according to the CDC, are transmitted by fecal-to-oral contact, person-to-person contact and through sexual activity.

Biofilm of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Rod-shaped and spherical bacteria. Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Klebsiella, Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA. 3D illustration

Shigellosis usually affects young children aged 1-4 in the U.S., but the CDC has seen an increase in the following groups:

  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Frequent International travelers
  • People living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

While most people with diarrheal illness only needed “supportive care and fluid replacement,” the CDC said healthcare providers should consults with specialists to “determine the best treatment plan.”

To avoid contracting or spreading the bacteria, the CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water, especially in the following circumstances:

  • Before any sexual activity
  • Before preparing food or eating
  • After going to the bathroom, changing a diaper, or cleaning up after someone who went to the bathroom

The CDC also advised healthcare professionals to report all confirmed cases to their local health department.


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