Shigellosis, a sexually transmitted infection, rises in Spain

The cases of in Spain are slightly increasing. It is a bacterial infection of the digestive tractfrom sexually transmitted whose main symptom is diarrhea and that it can affect minors and adults, according to a review carried out by researchers from the National Center for Epidemiology and the National Center for Microbiology of the ISCIII, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

The publication of this review, which provides data on the situation in Spain between 2016 and 2021, comes a few weeks after the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC, for its acronym in English) warned of an increase in infections caused by ‘Shigella sonnei’ resistant to treatment with antibiotics among men who have sex with men.

In this sense, the department headed by Carolina Darias has published, in addition to the CNE report, another review that assesses the risk of this increase in cases in the aforementioned group warned by the ECDC.

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good prognosis

shigellosis usually has a good prognosiseven though It can be complicated in young children, the elderly, malnourished patients and immunosuppressed people. If treatment is required, it is treated with antibiotics, although some strains of the bacteria that cause the disease, ‘Shigella spp’, have developed resistance to these drugs.

Specifically, the review carried out by the CNE has analyzed the cases and outbreaks of shigellosis reported between 2016 and 2021 to the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network (RENAVE), which collects information related to age and sex cases, possible transmission mechanisms and microbiological characteristics of the isolates, among other issues.

During the study period, there were 1,985 cases and 18 outbreaks of the disease. The cumulative incidence of shigellosis increased between 2016 and 2019, reaching a maximum of 1.2 cases per 100,000 population that last year, and subsequently decreased between 2020 and 2021, with 0.3 cases per 100,000 population in both years. Last year, despite the fact that only some autonomous communities reported cases to RENAVE, the number of cases was slightly higher than the previous year.

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More common in men

The disease was more frequent in men than in women, fundamentally in individuals between 15 and 49 years of age.

Likewise, the most isolated Shigella species during the study period was ‘S.sonnei’, followed by ‘S.flexneri’, although these data must be taken with caution because information was not available in approximately half of the cases. Only in 9 of the 1,985 cases detected did sexual intercourse appear as a transmission mechanism, but, again, these data should be taken with caution because the possible transmission mechanism was not picked up in more than 90 percent of the cases. For this reason, the review recommends reinforcing the notification of the disease in Spain, especially the information related to transmission, microbiological characterization and resistance to antimicrobials.

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