Bacteria Resistant to Antibiotic of Last Resort Reaches USA

  • Oct 03rd, 2015
  • Guy Paterson

For the first time in the Western hemisphere, researchers in Pennsylvania, USA have discovered a carrier of a strain of bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort.

Living within the body of a 49 year old woman, researchers from the Department of Defence detected a strain of E. Coli resistant to the drug Colisitin, a strong antibiotic used in the treatment of several types of extremely dangerous superbugs, as a result of a gene known as MCR-1.

The prognosis for the individual woman isn’t fatal though, as her condition can still be treated with other drugs, though it signals a troubling development in the evolution of bacteria resistant to antibiotic medication, which has been a front-line defence in modern medicine for years. Researchers worry that MCR-1 may spread and endow its resistance upon other bacteria, which could cause the ultimate demise of antibiotics as a method of treatment.

The bacteria in question have already been found in samples of American pig intestines by the US Agriculture Dept. and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as within humans in China, where the drug Colistin is widely used in livestock. It is therefore highly likely that the bug spread to humans by the consumption of pigs, which are one of the species which can communicate disease to humans the most easily.

Both the CDC and the United States Congress have pledged to fight tooth and nail against the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria, with a new budget allocation to the centre affording it hundreds of millions of extra dollars. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe also stated that he would launch a collaborative effort with the CDC and the DoD to orchestrate a response to the threat.  


Guy Paterson

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