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Another 'gift' from Big Pharma: Drug-resistant stomach bug spreads across America


(NaturalNews) Many frequent international travelers have their doctor prescribe Cipro or other antibiotics when they travel out of the country for any length of time. Having this along won't be helping against a new strain of bacteria according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This superbug is finding its way into the United States via international travelers and is spreading. Shigella, according to the CDC, has become resistant to the antibiotic Cipro.

Shigella infection is an intestinal disease caused by a family of bacteria known as shigella. The symptoms which typically show up one to two days after exposure include diarrhea (often containing blood or mucus), abdominal cramps and fever. An additional challenge is some carriers have no symptoms after they've been infected with shigella but they are still contagious.

Shigella transmission

Infection occurs when you ingest shigella bacteria. There are three main ways this occurs:

Hand to mouth. If you don't wash your hands well after coming into contact with the shigella infection, you may become infected yourself. Direct person-to-person contact is the most common way the disease is spread.

Consuming contaminated food. Those who are infected and prepare food can transmit the bacteria to people who eat the food. Food can also become contaminated if it grows in a field that contains sewage.

Ingesting contaminated water. Water can become contaminated from sewage or from an infected person swimming in it.

A perfect setting for the bacteria to spread is in a child care facility when employees don't wash their hands sufficiently after changing diapers or wiping toddlers during toilet training. Kids between two and four seem to be most vulnerable to this infection. The usual mode of transmission is directly person-to-person hand-to-mouth and most often in the setting of poor hygiene among children. The incubation period varies from 12 hours to seven days but typically is one to three days.

Shigella statistics

The infection usually clears up in a week or so and as many as 25 percent of those infected were hospitalized during the most recent outbreak. There have been 243 cases so far of the illness between May and February according to the CDC.

Annually, Shigella causes about 500,000 illnesses, 5,500 hospitalizations, and 40 deaths in the U.S., according to the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. While these strains are predominantly resistant to Cipro, most are still susceptible to at least one other oral antibiotic, the CDC said.

"These outbreaks show a troubling trend in Shigella infections in the United States," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in the statement. "Drug-resistant infections are harder to treat and because Shigella spreads so easily between people, the potential for more - and larger - outbreaks is a real concern."

An outbreak of the shigella bacterium occurred in late 2014 in Brooklyn and according to news reports on CBS2 has spread to the surrounding suburbs including Rockland County.

"We began to see it spreading in other counties, not only Rockland, as well," said Dr. Oscar Alleyne, director of public health planning for the Rockland County Health Department. Alleyne has been tracking shigella infections and in January there were 17 confirmed cases in Rockland County, and from November through December, there were 49. Most of the shigella patients in these cases have all been young children.

The parents in Rockland County have been on high alert.

"Now I'm going to be wiping stuff down more," said Christine DeMasi of Spring Valley. "Hopefully, the parents will be careful about keeping their kids home and not spreading it around."

Doctors recommend washing hands often as the best prevention.





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