CDC Warns of Drug-Resistant Superbug


CDC | Image by bear_productions

The CDC has issued a warning to health providers due to increased cases of a superbug.

The organization released an advisory on February 24 warning state and local health authorities of the “extensively drug-resistant” shigellosis.

Shigella is a type of infectious and drug-resistant bacteria known to cause infections called shigellosis. The CDC reported that this illness causes about 450,000 infections in the United States every year, resulting in about $93 million in medical costs.

These bacteria are spread through a variety of means, such as sexual contact, exposure to contaminated water, surfaces, and foods, and exposure to fecal matter.

Symptoms of this illness include fever, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

The CDC said in the advisory that this form of bacteria is highly resistant to conventional antibiotic medication, such as azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and ampicillin. This makes it fall under the classification of a superbug.

Colgate-Palmolive had issued a recall of some of its cleaning products due to the possibility of another superbug, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Certain units were believed to contain Pseudomonas, which the CDC describes as a bacteria typically found in soil and water.

Shigella spreads very easily from person to person, according to the CDC’s release.

While infection rates are typically higher among children, the CDC has identified an increase in cases among adults, particularly among the homeless, travelers, and those who have contracted HIV.

The CDC reported that the share of Shigella infections due to XDR strains increased from 0% in 2015 to 5% in 2022. Of those infected, 82% were men, 13% were women, and only 5% were children.

As for the treatment of XDR Shigella, the release said that they have no available data, so they cannot provide any recommendations for health providers to optimally treat these infections.

Naeemah Logan, a CDC medical officer, told The Washington Post that these resistant bacteria “are challenging to treat and easily transmissible, especially among vulnerable populations.”

Washing hands with soap and water, practicing caution when changing and disposing of baby diapers, and avoiding swallowing water from swimming pools, ponds, or lakes are cited as ways to prevent catching shigellosis, according to the CDC.

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