Health officials in the US are alerting the public to an increase in a drug-resistant strain of the stomach bug that kills thousands of Americans each year.
Fever, diarrhea, and stomach pain are all brought on by the Shigella bacteria. Authorities have seen an increase in cases connected to the drug-resistant strain since 2015.
Health officials referred to it as a "serious public health threat" because infections could not be treated with medication.
Without prompt medical attention, it might result in serious illness or even death.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Friday that while no infections were linked to the Shigella XDR strain in 2015, 5% of cases would be in 2022.
The strain, which is resistant to the five antibiotics that are most frequently used to treat it, was responsible for 1% of all cases in the US in 2019.
According to the CDC, Shigella is spread "easily" through close physical contact with an infected person's face. It can result in shigellosis, a type of dysentery that is one of the most common causes of death associated with diarrhea in the world.
Many situations can be controlled with the right hydration and rest. Officials claim that frequent hand washing can prevent it. Currently, it results in fewer than five fatalities per year in the US. .
According to the CDC, people who are immunocompromised, international travelers, men who have sex with men, and the homeless are at a higher risk of contracting the XDR strain.
The CDC urged medical professionals to be vigilant in spotting and reporting cases of XDR Shigella infection to their local or state health departments as well as informing patients and communities at higher risk about prevention and transmission.
Last year, authorities in the UK also issued a warning about an "unusually high number of cases" connected to the XDR strain.