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A nationwide increase in "extensively drug-resistant" shigellosis has been reported, according to a "serious public health" alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A nationwide increase in "extensively drug-resistant" shigellosis has been reported, according to a "serious public health" alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC's "emergency and preparedness response," the highly contagious shigella bacterial infection attacks the intestines and produces inflammatory, occasionally bloody diarrhea.

Healthcare providers "should understand the nuances of testing and managing infections, especially when treating patients from populations at increased risk of drug-resistant shigellosis including young children; gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men; people experiencing homelessness; international travelers; and people living with HIV," according to the new research.

Children under the age of five, people in daycare and educational facilities, and visitors to locations "where water and food may be unsafe, and sanitation is bad" are also more likely to become infected with shigellosis.

According to earlier CDC statistics, the US experiences about 450,000 shigellosis infections annually, costing the country an estimated $93 million in direct medical expenses.

Additionally, the organization stated that 5% of infections in 2022 would be extensively drug-resistant, or XDR, up from zero instances in 2015.

An infection is considered XDR when it doesn't respond to antibiotics that are typically used to treat it, such as azithromycin, ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone, among others, reports New York Post.

According to the new study, "XDR shigellosis is resistant to all generally recommended antibiotics in the United States, making it difficult to treat." XDR shigellosis is a serious public health threat: XDR Shigella bacteria have limited antimicrobial treatment options, are easily transmissible, and can spread antimicrobial resistance genes to other enteric bacteria.

Medical professionals treating XDR shigellosis "should consult with a specialist knowledgeable in treating antibiotic-resistant bacteria to determine the best treatment options," the CDC wrote in its statement.

The CDC recommends that all patients with suspected or confirmed shigellosis should:

  • Stay home from school or health care, food service, or child-care jobs while sick or until the health department says it's safe to return.
  • Abstain from sex.
  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Do not prepare food for others, if possible.
  • Stay out of recreational water, including swimming pools, hot tubs, water playgrounds, oceans, lakes and rivers.

This most recent infection strain appears as more common stomach "bugs" spread throughout the U.S.

The highly contagious gastrointestinal illness, also known as the stomach flu (though unrelated to influenza), is usually brought on by norovirus infection.

It causes fever, days of vomiting, as well as diarrhea in both children and adults. If left untreated, it can even be fatal.

With a testing positivity rate of 19.48% as of Feb. 4 — already exceeding last year's high of 16.12%, reported late in the season on Apr. 2, 2022 — the Midwest is being hit the hardest this norovirus season.

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