Health officials in the United States are warning of an increase in a strain of a drug-resistant stomach illness that annually affects thousands of People.
As per BBC, the Shigella bacteria causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Since 2015, the number of cases associated with the drug-resistant strain has increased. The inability to cure infections with medication has prompted health experts to label them a “severe threat to public health.”
Without treatment, it could lead to a serious disease or even death. In a statement released on Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that while none of the infections documented in 2015 were associated with the Shigella XDR strain, 5% of cases would be associated with it by 2022.
In 2019, 1% of all cases in the United States were attributable to the strain, which is resistant to the five antibiotics most frequently used to treat it. According to the CDC, Shigella spreads “easily” through direct and surface contact with an infected person’s feces. It can progress to a kind of dysentery known as shigellosis, which is one of the main causes of death worldwide associated with diarrhoea.
Numerous cases can be treated with adequate fluids and relaxation. According to officials, it can be prevented by frequently washing hands. It currently causes fewer than five deaths per year in the United States. According to the CDC, homeless people, overseas travelers, males who have s*x with other men, and immunocompromised individuals are particularly susceptible to the XDR strain.
“Given these potentially grave public health concerns, the CDC urges healthcare professionals to be vigilant in suspecting and reporting cases of XDR Shigella infection to their local or state health department, as well as educating patients and communities at increased risk about transmission prevention,” the agency said.
Last year, British officials similarly warned of a “unusually high number of illnesses” connected to the XDR strain.