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, about 5% of shigellosis infections were drug resistant, or XDR, compared to zero reported cases of resistant infections in 2015, according to the CDC.
The CDC alert says shigellosis typically causes inflammatory diarrhea that can be bloody and can also lead to fever and abdominal cramps.
“It lasts about five to seven days,” Janet Hill, chief operating officer for the Rock Island County Health Department, told Nexstar’s WHBF. “It needs to be confirmed with a lab test and it’s a nationally reportable disease, which is why the CDC is sounding the alarm as there is an increase in cases across the country.”
The bacteria, according to the CDC, are transmitted through fecal-oral contact, person-to-person contact, and sexual activity.
Shigellosis typically affects young children ages 1 to 4 in the United States, but the CDC has found an increase in the following groups:
- Gays, bisexuals and other men who have sex with men
- Homeless people
- Frequent international travelers
- People living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
While most people with diarrheal illnesses need only “supportive care and fluid replacement,” the CDC said healthcare providers should consult with specialists to “determine the best treatment plan.” “.
“Most cases don’t require antibiotics to treat, usually just waiting and it can take five to seven days of pretty miserable conditions,” Hill said. “This particular strain is showing some resistance to antibiotics, which is just another reminder that when you’re prescribed an antibiotic, it’s really important to take it as directed for the full length of time your doctor has instructed.”
To avoid contracting or spreading 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 has gone to the bathroom
“If your diarrhea lasts longer than usual or if it is bloody or accompanied by severe stomach cramps, see a doctor to determine if it is a common norovirus or shigellosis,” explained Hill.
The CDC also advised medical professionals to report all confirmed cases to their local health department.
In 2015, the agency issued a warning about multidrug-resistant Shigella that was beginning to spread in the United States, brought by international travelers.
According to CBS, authorities have warned of an outbreak affecting hundreds of people returning to the United States and Europe after spending time in Cape Verde resorts. The UK has also recently reported a high number of cases across the country.
Earlier this month, Colorado health officials confirmed they were monitoring cases of Shigella, Nexstar’s KSRM reports. The CDC has not yet clarified where other cases have been confirmed in the United States.