CDC health warning notes rise of drug-resistant Shigella

A rise in the infection rate of antibiotic-resistant Shigella has prompted the CDC to issue a health advisory.

The agency is asking healthcare professionals to report cases of the XDR strain of Shigella to state health departments because physicians treating patients who are infected "have limited antimicrobial treatment options," and the "bacteria are easily transmissible." 

Cases of Shigella can typically self-resolve, but antibiotic treatments have been used in the past to help shorten the duration or to treat those who become infected and also have underlying conditions. What is also concerning, according to the agency's Feb. 24 advisory, is that this specific strain of Shigella can also spread antibiotic-resistance genes to other bacteria.

Shigella is most commonly spread among children, individuals experiencing homelessness and men who identify as gay or bisexual. The agency notes that between 2015 and 2022 the XDR Shigella strain increased 5 percent, with reports of 239 cases nationally. 

According to the advisory, the CDC will continue to monitor Shigella infections and "is conducting an analysis of antimicrobial-resistant Shigella infections in the United States using data in the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria."

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