The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a health advisory to warn the public about a rise in a drug-resistant bacteria called Shigella.
There are limited antimicrobial treatments available for these specific drug-resistant strains of Shigella, and it’s also easily transmissible, the CDC warned in Friday’s advisory. It is also capable of spreading antimicrobial resistance genes to other bacteria that infect the gut.
Shigella infections, known as shigellosis, can cause fever, abdominal cramps, tenesmus, and bloody diarrhea.
The bacteria can be spread through a fecal-oral route, person-to-person contact, and contaminated food and water.
While shigellosis typically affects young children, the CDC says it’s starting to see more of the antimicrobial-resistant infections in adult populations — especially men who have sex with men, people who are homeless, international travelers and people living with HIV.
“Given these potentially serious public health concerns, CDC is urging healthcare professionals to be vigilant in suspecting and reporting cases of XDR Shigella infection to their local or state health department and to educate at-risk patients and communities about prevention and transmission,” the advisory said.
The CDC says patients will recover from shigellosis without any antimicrobial treatment and it can be treated with oral hydration, but for those infected with the drug-resistant strains, there are no recommendations for treatment if symptoms become more severe.
The rate of infections from resistant strains of bacteria has increased from zero in 2015 to 5% in 2022, according to the CDC.
Nationally, there are nearly 3 million antimicrobial-resistant infections each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result, according to the CDC.
A recent United Nations report states that in 2019, approximately 5 million deaths worldwide were associated with antimicrobial resistance and that the annual number is expected to rise to 10 million by 2050 if measures are not taken to curb the spread of antimicrobial resistance. fuses.