Date
22 October 2017
A new superbug serves as a warning that the world risks being in a post-antibiotic world, says Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Photo: wnpr.org
A new superbug serves as a warning that the world risks being in a post-antibiotic world, says Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Photo: wnpr.org

US woman diagnosed with new drug-resistant superbug

US health officials reported the first case in the country of a patient with an infection resistant to all known antibiotics, expressing grave concern at the potential threat posed by the superbug.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman who approached a clinic with urinary tract infection symptoms was found to have a new kind of bacteria that is resistant to every known antibiotic.

The infection was not controlled even by colistin, an antibiotic that is reserved for use against “nightmare bacteria”, CDC director Thomas Frieden said on Thursday.

“We risk being in a post-antibiotic world,” Reuters quoted the official as saying at the National Press Club in Washington.

The infection was reported in a study appearing in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

It said the superbug itself had first been infected with a tiny piece of DNA called a plasmid, which passed along a gene called mcr-1 that confers resistance to colistin.

“[This] heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug-resistant bacteria,” said the study, which was conducted by the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of mcr-1 in the USA,” it said, calling for continued surveillance to determine the true frequency of the gene.

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