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What is Shigella—and why should gay men know about it?

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antibiotic-resistant Shigella. The gut infection is passed on through any sort of fecal-oral contact (i.e. getting a tiny bit of infected poo into your mouth).This is often through food contamination—but also some sexual practices.

Around half the cases in the UK are linked to sex, and it disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men.Despite this, it’s an infection that many men know little about compared to STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea.The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued its warning after detecting 47 cases in the four months between September 1, 2021 and January 10, 2022.

That’s three times as many cases as in the 17 months before this (April, 2020 to August 2021).Related: FDA approves injectable form of PrEP given every two monthsUKHSA has tracked this particular strain of Shigella since 2018 and says recent cases show that resistance to antibiotics is increasing.In the US, figures from 2018 state that Shigella causes an estimated 500,000 illnesses, 6,000 hospitalizations, and 40 deaths annually.

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