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CDC: Drug-Resistant Bacteria Outbreak Spreading In The U.S.

CDC Outbreak Warning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning the public that the drug-resistant bacteria strain formally known as Shigella sonnei is spreading in the United States.

In the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published on Friday, the agency indicated that a strain of the bacteria resistant to several antibiotics induced intestinal illness in over 240 people across 32 states and Puerto Rico in just 9-months.

The multidrug-resistant shigellosis, which is associated with international travel, attacks the digestive system ,causing intestinal illness and diarrhea. In severe cases, individuals afflicted with the bacterial infection require medical treatment, however, in most cases the illness persists for a mere two to seven days.

The April 3 issue of the CDC report indicated that the antibiotic recommended for adults with shigellosis, ciprofloxacin (Cipro), was not effective in isolates tested from the cluster as a resistance to the antibiotic was exhibited.

CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, indicated in a statement that the outbreaks are part of what he referred to as a “troubling trend in Shigella infections” which are “harder to treat” due to their drug-resistance. He also indicated that the infection spreads “easily between people,” which correlates with an increased potential for additional, larger outbreaks.

Drug-resistant infections are harder to treat and because Shigella spreads so easily between people, the potential for more – and larger – outbreaks is a real concern […] We can’t take for granted that we’ll always have the drugs we need to fight common infection

A report on Healthline indicated that Cipro is sometimes prescribed to international travelers in case they develop diarrhea while traveling outside of the United States. Subsequently, officials at the CDC are investigating whether the routine use of ciprofloxacin is causing the drug-resistant strain of Shigellosis to spread.

Dr. Anna Bowen, a medical officer with the CDC’s Waterborne Diseases Prevention Branch, was quoted by Healthline as having said that the “increase in drug-resistant Shigella makes it even more critical to prevent shigellosis from spreading” and that washing one’s hands with soap and water is “important for everyone.”

The increase in drug-resistant Shigella makes it even more critical to prevent shigellosis from spreading […] Washing your hands with soap and water is important for everyone. Also, international travelers can protect themselves by choosing hot foods and drinking only from sealed containers.

Just last week the White House released a national action plan to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

What are your thoughts on the spread of the drug-resistant bacteria in the United States?

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