Shigella bacteria may cause stomach issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In recent weeks, norovirus has dominated your newsfeed. Still, the CDC urges you to be aware of another stomach bug: Last week, the agency warned about the “extensively” antibiotic-resistant Shigella bacteria. The bacteria’s illness, shigellosis, is widespread but may produce severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including bloody diarrhea, requiring immediate antibiotic treatment.
According to the CDC, drug-resistant strains accounted for zero percent of Shigella infections in 2015 but five percent in 2022. The health advisory also highlighted that the germs are “easily” disseminated, presenting “possibly major public health issues.”
Here’s all you need to know about Shigella: drug resistance, transmission, symptoms, and who’s most at risk.
Why Are Drug-Resistant Shigella Infections On The Rise?
Shigella bacteria are among the clever pathogens becoming more resistant to antimicrobials. By 2050, drug-resistant diseases might kill 10 million people; according to the WHO: Shigella is considered a “medium priority” drug-resistant infection since certain drugs kill them.
According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance arises when organisms like Shigella become antibiotic-resistant. These viruses may create hard-to-treat infections, making a manageable sickness more hazardous, particularly for high-risk persons.
The CDC’s Shigella health notice advised doctors only to use antibiotics when required, which isn’t always the case with shigellosis (more on that in a minute). Overusing these drugs causes drug-resistant bugs, especially Shigella strains.
How Do Shigella Bacteria Spread?
Shigella infects 450,000 Americans annually. Swallowing bacteria may infect:
- Touching a bacteria-contaminated surface and then touching your lips with unclean hands
- Cleaning up after an infected person, such as a toddler,
- Infection-contaminated food
- Dirty water
- Entering untreated pool water
- Sexual contact with an infected or recovered person exposes you to feces.
The CDC warns that Shigella may spread to foreign travelers via hazardous food and drink. If you’re