Here’s a fun fact: A food poisoning infection causes an estimated 500,000 cases of diarrhea in the U.S. each year. It gets worse, because according to a release from the Center for Disease Control, a new strain called Shigella has now become resistant to drugs.
NPR describes Shigella infection symptoms as similar or slightly worse to regular food poisoning: “crampy rectal pain, bloody or mucus-laced diarrhea and vomiting.” Since it’s resistant to the go-to drug ciprofloxacin, victims have to suffer without treatment or resort to IV antibiotics. So far, there have been 243 reported cases of the drug-resistant strain, 20% of which resulted in hospitalizations.
According to epidemiologist Anna Bowen, a few as 10 Shigella germs can cause an infection. This highly contagious strain has been reported in 32 states, with the highest concentrations in California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The strain could only be traced back to international travel in some cases – which means it has started to circulate on its own in some states.
The best way to prevent illness is to wash your hands regularly. And if you do get sick, the illness will go away on its own after about seven days. Stock up on toilet paper now, folks.