SAN ANTONIO Shigella is a bacterium that annually causes a highly contagious intestinal infection that causes convulsions and diarrhea, sometimes with blood in it.
“It is transmitted in what we call the fecal-oral route, which means that you can become infected from very close contact with someone who has it, who may not have washed their hands, or you could have become infected during sexual intercourse. act. or you can get it through food or water that has been contaminated,” said Ian Patterson, an infectious disease specialist at UT Health San Antonio.
Patterson said the newest strain of Shigella bacteria is worrying doctors around the world because it appears to be resistant to commonly used antibiotics.
The bacteria usually show up in young children, but this particular outbreak of an antibiotic-resistant strain is affecting other specific populations as well.
“Men who have sex with men, the homeless, travelers as it is more common overseas, and those who are immunocompromised, including those with HIV,” Patterson said.
A week ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a medical advisory advising healthcare professionals to educate these vulnerable patients.
The message remains the same for everyone: Wash your hands frequently, especially after changing diapers, sexual activity, or before meals.
“If people have diarrhea, especially bloody diarrhea, they should see a doctor to see if they need treatment,” Patterson said.
She said you won’t always need antibiotics, but it’s best to check with your doctor.
Patterson said doctors have focused on this issue. The CDC is considering using two antibiotics to treat severe forms of the disease.
One is oral and the other is intravenous. None of these have been developed to treat shigella, but they may work for these vulnerable patients.
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