Researchers in Australia have identified an extensively drug-resistant strain of Shigella spreading mainly among men who have sex with men (MSM).

In a letter published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the University of Melbourne report that, from February 2018 through May 2019, 184 isolates of extensively drug-resistant Shigella sonnei were identified in 12 female and 172 male patients in the state of Victoria. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that 171 of the isolates were closely related and formed a distinct clonal lineage of S sonnei that had been transmitted among men, the researchers say.

“In this study, we used whole genome sequencing to show that all of the cases from the past year and a half are highly related to each other, which strongly suggests person-to-person transmission within specific sexual networks,” lead author and University of Melbourne professor Deborah Williamson, MD, PhD, said in a university press release.

The isolates harbored mutations conferring resistance to quinolones, along with a multidrug-resistant plasmid that’s been identified in other MSM-associated Shigella cases. Antibiotic susceptibility testing indicated resistance to all orally available antibiotics.

Resistant strains spreading among MSM

 

Credit: CDC, Dr.Todd Parker

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