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“Serious Public Health Threat”: Drug-Resistant Stomach Bug Spreading In US

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A drug-resistant strain of a nasty stomach bug has infiltrated the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national public health organisation of the United States, released a warning on Friday over the spread of a strain of the shigella bacteria that appears to be antibiotic-resistant, according to the BBC.

Shigellosis typically results in inflammatory diarrhoea, which can be bloody, and may also cause fever and abdominal discomfort, according to the CDC’s advisory.

The news portal reported that, the health body said that while none of the infections recorded in 2015 were tied to the Shigella XDR strain, 5% of cases were linked to it in 2022. In 2019, 1% of all US cases were linked to the strain, which is resistant to the five antibiotics that are most commonly used to treat it.

According to the CDC, “Shigella bacteria cause an infection called shigellosis. Shigella causes an estimated 450,000 infections in the United States each year and an estimated $93 million in direct medical costs.”

Shigella is also easily spread, according to the health organization; it only takes a small number of bacteria to make someone sick.People with a Shigella infection can spread the infection to others for several weeks after their diarrhoea ends.

The health body mentioned in the advisory said that Shigella bacteria are transmitted by the fecal-oral route, directly through person-to-person contact, including sexual contact, and indirectly through contaminated food, water, and other routes. Shigella bacteria are easily transmitted because of the low infectious dose (as few as 10–100 organisms), and outbreaks tend to occur among people in close-contact settings.

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