Researchers in the US Defense Department said the woman was carrying a strain of E. coli which is resistant to colistin, an antibiotic.
A more challenging task lies ahead for health officials, doctors and scientists after the discovery of a bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics of last resort.
The bacteria, found in the urine of 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman, contains a gene called mcr-1. Researchers in the US Defense Department said the woman was carrying a strain of E. coli which is resistant to colistin.
While the strain found in the woman is treatable, what worries doctors more is the bacteria’s colistin-resistance gene, which could spread to other bacteria that can already evade other antibiotics.
Antibiotic-Resistant Superbug Found In The U.S.
Pigs and raw pork
The colistin-resistant strain was first discovered in November 2015 in pigs and raw pork and in a small number of people in China. The strain was later discovered in Europe and elsewhere.
Colistin, a drug which is hardly ideal, is a last-line defense against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The drug is critical in fighting some of the most tenacious infections but it can seriously damage a patient’s kidneys.
“It is the end of the road for antibiotics unless we act urgently. We risk being in a post-antibiotic world,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Thomas Frieden regarding the latest discovery.
Fighting antibiotic resistance
In November 2015, Dr. Frieden said that CDC is committed to fighting antibiotic resistance. “At CDC we track antibiotic use and the spread of antibiotic resistance infections in the US and figure out new ways to stop spread. We are working with doctors to improve their subscribing habit and encouraging patients to ask their provider if antibiotics are truly needed for their care,” he said. Dr Frieden noted that it will take a global effort to calm back antibiotic resistance.