Apr 3, 2015 11:31 AM
Shigella, drug-resistant stomach bug, spreading across US - especially Massachusetts
Even though health officials are saying that outbreaks of the highly contagious illness called shigellosis is not unusual, this strain is causing some concern.
Officials are saying this is the largest outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Shigella linked to international travel that they've documented.
This superbug has sickened 243 people since last May with large outbreaks in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California.
The illness usually lasts a week with symptoms including stomach pain, diarrhea and fever. It lasts about a week and is helped with over-the-counter medicines like Pepto-Bismol or Imodium.
On some occasions doctors will prescribe antibiotics for treatment but this new strain is making that difficult.
"These outbreaks show a troubling trend," Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC, said in a 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."
Simple precautions can help prevent illness: washing hands thoroughly with soap and water, and drinking only from sealed containers in countries where the water supply might be affected.