Second US patient identified with super-resistant bacteria

e coli
Escherichia coli. Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH
A second US patient has been infected with a superbug that is highly resistant to last-resort antibiotics, scientists said Monday.

Virologists found the rare mrc-1 gene, which causes the resistance, in a strain of E. coli from a patient in New York, according to findings published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

"We are very close to seeing the emergence of enterobacteria that will be impossible to treat with antibiotics," said Lance Price of George Washington University.

The first US case of human infection with the gene-carrying E. coli occurred in May, in a 49-year-old patient hospitalized in Pennsylvania with a urinary tract infection. She has since recovered.

The mrc-1 gene is especially dreaded because it makes bacteria resistant to colistin, the antibiotic of last resort for such infections.

The gene, located on a small fragment of microbial DNA, can move from one bacteria to another across several species, potentially spreading resistance to all , which authorities see as a catastrophe scenario.

Scientists have been tracking the gene's movements around the globe since its discovery in humans, poultry and pigs in China in 2015.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the establishment of a network of labs that would respond quickly to antibiotic-resistant superbugs in the United States.

It is set to launch work in the fall.


Explore further

US to establish lab network for combating 'superbugs'

© 2016 AFP

Citation: Second US patient identified with super-resistant bacteria (2016, June 28) retrieved 22 September 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-06-patient-super-resistant-bacteria.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
159 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more