In a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug resistant bacteria are once again being brought back into the United States by some international travelers. Information was published by the CDC in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Known as shigella sonnei, this super bug causes approximately 500,000 cases of diarrhea annually in the US. This strain of bacteria is extremely resistant to drugs. Because of this, 243 people throughout 32 states were infected, as well as Puerto Rico.
In 90% of cases, shigella did not respond to a powerful antibiotic called Cipro, which is the type of antibiotic commonly used to treat shigellosis. Because these strains are highly resistant to other antibiotics, Cipro is used but now, even this is not working. The challenge is that shigella spreads fast and found most often in environments like nursing homes and childcare centers.
The CDC was first alerted to this new strain in December of 2014, which after testing found that Cipro was ineffective. As stated by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, these types of infections are difficult to treat, not only because antibiotics do not work but also that they spread so easily. As a result, major outbreaks are a very serious concern.
Frieden went on to say that seeing a recent outbreak in the US unveils a very disturbing trend. In San Francisco alone, roughly 100 cases were identified among homeless people although some were connected to international travel as well. This particular type of infection is actually quite common among people to travel to developing countries.
To reduce risk of being infected, the CDC advises all international travelers to carefully wash their hands but to also be extremely careful about foods and water being consumed.
The problem of antibiotic resistant infections is becoming a big problem. So much so that President Obama signed an executive order in September 2014 to form a task force to address the issue.