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Health Advisory Issued for Antibiotic-Resistant Shigella Bacteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a health advisory with clinical and laboratory recommendations for treating patients with Shigella strains that could be antibiotic resistant.

CDC has found an increase in Shigella — a bacteria closely related to E. coli — that is resistant to the flouroquinone antibiotic ciprofloxacin. Such resistance is particularly concerning as data show that it could be linked to resistance to other commonly used drugs.

For patients who may have a Shigella infection, CDC recommends that clinicians:

  • not prescribe antibiotic treatment unless it is clinically indicated or called for by public health officials;
  • order stool cultures for microbial testing, and order follow-up stool cultures for patients with continued symptoms after antibiotic use;
  • tailor any necessary antibiotic use to susceptibility results; and
  • counsel patients on preventing the spread of the bacteria.

Clinicians also should report all cases of Shigella to a local health department.

The agency recommends that labs should understand the association between Shigella bacteria and the quinolone resistance gene and submit positive results to the state public health lab for genome sequencing.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Michelle Rosenfeld is senior writer/editor at America's Essential Hospitals.

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