Fever, hemorrhagic diarrhea… Shigella sonnei, this antibiotic-resistant bacterium that worries
The alert is given. In a press release, the Pasteur Institute is concerned about the spread of shigellosis in France and its “sonnei” strain. Sister of the famous E.Coli, shigellosis causes the death each year of nearly 200,000 people around the world. Fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody or even haemorrhagic diarrhea, septic shock… Its symptoms are numerous, and sometimes violent.
Until now, the bacterium shigella sonnei was transmitted due to a lack of hand hygiene, like gastroenteritis. But since then, scientists have found a new means of transmission: sexual relations.
Are men more affected than women?
“At the start, we only had strains that came back from Southeast Asia, and these were isolated cases. And after, the strain, we couldn’t find it anymore. Except that now, we have active transmission of the bacteria and it is mainly men” who are contaminated, explains to the microphone of Europe 1 Sophie Lefèvre, from the reference center for E. Coli, Salmonella and shigella bacteria at the Pasteur Institute.
Currently, “I have 99 infected men, for three women, over the period 2020-2021. And the transmission does not stop since in 2023, it is still there”, she continues. A phenomenon which is partly explained by the fact that the bacterium shigella sonnei is resistant to treatment.
Prescribing the right antibiotics at the right time
“It has a resistance profile to several antibiotics, which we did not necessarily have before. Until now, we had strains which had resistance to an antibiotic, but not an accumulation of resistance to several molecules”, worries Sophie Lefèvre.
So, faced with a case of shigella, the Pasteur Institute recommends that doctors perform a bacterial test to find out what strain it is, and prescribe the right antibiotics.