Thursday, February 22, 2018
Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

US: Antibiotic-resistant superbug found for first time

E. coli bacteria strain found in country for the first time as experts warn more cases should be expected in the future.

A 49-year-old woman has become the first person in the US to be infected with a superbug, an alarming new development in the spread of bacteria that cannot be treated by any antibiotics.

US health officials said on Thursday a strain of E. coli bacteria resistant to colistin, which is known as a treatment of last resort, was found in a Pennsylvania woman who had visited a clinic with symptoms of a urinary tract infection.

Colistin "was an old antibiotic, but it was the only one left for what I call nightmare bacteria", said Thomas Frieden, chief of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The woman had not travelled outside the US, so could not have acquired the resistant bacteria elsewhere, Frieden added.

He said more cases should be expected in the future, raising concerns that the superbug could pose a serious danger for routine infections if it spreads.

"We know now that the more we look, the more we are going to find," he said. "We risk being in a post-antibiotic world."

Colistin has been available since 1959 to treat infections caused by E. coli, salmonella and acinetobacter, which can cause pneumonia or serious blood and wound infections.

It was abandoned for human use in the 1980s due to high kidney toxicity, but is widely used in livestock farming, especially in China.

READ MORE: Superbug threat requires 'urgent action'

However, colistin has been brought back as a treatment of last resort in hospitals and clinics as bacteria have started developing resistance to other, more modern drugs.

The US has committed $1.2bn of its 2016 budget to tackling the issue, while the UK government has been providing financial incentives to get drug companies to boost research and production of new antibiotics.

Overprescribing of antibiotics by physicians and in hospitals and their extensive use in food livestock have been blamed for contributing to the crisis.

More than half of all patients treated in hospital will get an antibiotic at some point during their stay.

But studies have shown that 30 to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed in hospitals are unnecessary or incorrect, contributing to antibiotic resistance.

In the US, antibiotic resistance has been blamed for at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths a year.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe via RSS or Email:

Oxfam: 26 new sexual misconduct cla...

Read More

Oxfam apologises to Haiti over sex ...

Read More

US protesters rally outside White H...

Read More

Donald Trump criticises FBI over Fl...

Read More

US: School shooting survivors deman...

Read More

Mexico: Minister helicopter's crash...

Read More


More than 110 schoolgirls are missing a day after suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked their school, police say.

Read More


Thanks to all of our supporters for your generosity and your encouragement of an independent press!

Enter Amount:



Login reminder Forgot login?

Subscribe to MWC News Alert

Email Address

Subscribe in a reader Facebok page Twitter page

Week in Pictures

From snowfall to sunshine

Palestinians hold 'day of rage'