Antibiotic-Resistant Shigella Increases in Gay New Yorkers

Researchers in Emerging Infectious Diseases found an increase in antibiotic-resistant Shigella infections, mostly among gay men.

The Center for Infections Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) writes:

Nearly a quarter of Shigella isolates tested in New York City showed decreased susceptibility or resistance to recommended antibiotics, and most of those infections were among gay men, researchers reported today in Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Of the patients studied, 19% showed resistance to azithromycin, while 4% showed resistance to ciprofloxacin. A few patients had both.

Shigella is a type of bacteria that can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps. It’s usually spread through contaminated food. So why do so many gay men have it? CIDRAP explains:

But Shigella infections can also be spread through oral-anal sex, and research indicates men who have sex with men (MSM) are more likely than the general adult population to acquire shigellosis. Of even greater concern, a recent study from the CDC detailed evidence of rising resistance to azithromycin and ciprofloxacin in shigellosis outbreaks among gay men.

The study found that many patients with Shigella infections also had HIV.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the CDC recommend avoiding the use of antibiotics to treat Shigella infections in all but extreme cases.