(KRON) — The Center for Disease Control is monitoring the spread of a bacteria called Shigella that causes gastrointestinal infections.
Shigella infections are not new and are more common in young children. Last year, about 5% of infections were strong enough to resist treatment, the CDC said.
UCSF’s Dr Peter Chin-Hong said the fear was that resistance would continue to grow. “Going from zero in 2015 to 0.4% in 2019 and then last year all of a sudden there was 5% where no medication worked, that’s kind of scary for me,” said said Dr. Chin-Hong.
Symptoms of Shigella include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Dr Chin-Hong said about 40% of people with it are hospitalized, but most get better on their own. The CDC has found an increase in the spread among gay and bisexual men, as well as others.
“If it’s Shigella, I think clinicians now know that if the individual is sick enough to be treated, we may need to work with the CDC and come up with alternative antibiotics. Ones that we don’t commonly use” , said Dr. Chin-Hong.
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According to the CDC, Shigella is usually spread when infected feces enters the nose or mouth. “Handwashing is back and I think Shigella is one of those places where that can be helpful as well,” Dr Chin-Hong said.