Drug-resistant bug spreading in U.S.
A new strain of an intestinal bug that's resistant to multiple drug has entered the U.S. through travelers and has caused a series of diarrhea outbreaks, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The bacteria Shigella often occurs when people travel to underdeveloped countries and can cause a nasty bout of diarrhea. The CDC says a new strain of this bug that is resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (Cipro) infected 243 people in 32 states and Puerto Rico between May 2014 and February 2015. Previously, resistance to Cipro occurred in only two percent of Shigella cases. Now, the CDC reports, the latest version of the bug is resistant to Cipro 90 percent of the time. Cipro is normally the go-to treatment for this infection. The bacteria had already become resistant to the antibiotics ampicillin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.
The Shigella bacteria are often found in stool-contaminated water used to wash and irrigate crops. The CDC points out that childcare facilities, homeless people, and gay men are most susceptible to spreading of the bacteria. About half the cases, it said, originated from the Dominican Republic, India, or other place outside the U.S.
The CDC recommends practicing proper hygiene, and emphasizes the importance of thorough and frequent handwashing.