Raising Awareness of Drug-Resistant Food Poisoning

A recent NPR article raised the concern of drug-resistant food poisoning. Specifically, Ciprofloxacin-resistant Shigella. This strain was imported with US travellers coming from all over the world, but has now spread around the nation. Doctors are now starting to treat multi-drug resistant Shigella using IV instead of oral antibiotics. The article states:

Multidrug-resistant Shigella has caused several outbreaks over the past year in the U.S., the CDC reports Thursday in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. At least 243 people have gotten sick and about 20 percent were hospitalized…And if you do get sick, don’t reach for the Cipro first. Instead, … go for an over-the-counter anti-diarrheal drug before trying an antibiotic.

It makes me so happy that awareness for drug-resistance is being raised, and especially that the article avoids fear-mongering. So many media reports on drug-resistant pathogens seem to just talk about how dangerous and ubiquitous these microbes are, but not about how to help avoid drug-resistance or even the role humans play in causing it. Hopefully, better reporting will make a difference in how people react to modern medical issues like this one.

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Alex Alexiev

Alex Alexiev is a recent UC Davis graduate with a BS in microbiology working in Jonathan Eisen’s lab on aquariums as part of the microbiology of the built environment.