‘Superbug’ Gene Found in New York Patient

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A New York patient is the second person in the U.S. to be infected with bacteria carrying a superbug gene, according to a new study.

What’s the Problem?

June 29, 2016 – According to the study, which was published this week in the journal American Agents and Chemotherapy, the superbug gene was found in an E. coli sample taken from a New York patient whose name and condition haven’t been released. The first case in the U.S. was identified last month in a Pennsylvania woman.

The mcr-1 ‘superbug’ gene is especially dangerous because of its ability to make bacteria resistant to colistin, an antibiotic used to treat drug-resistant infections, including the “nightmare bacteria” CRE, according to the Huffington Post.

What is alarming about mcr-1 discoveries in the U.S. is that bacteria can share resistance genes, and if the gene finds its way into CRE bacteria, it could create a bacterium that is resistant to virtually all types of antibiotics. In the Pennsylvania case, the bacteria that carried the superbug gene was vulnerable to antibiotics and the patient was able to be treated.

Last year, Chinese researchers identified the superbug gene in both farm animals and humans patients. At the time, the gene was known to have spread to at least 19 countries. Antibiotic resistance is currently responsible for about 23,000 deaths worldwide each year, according to Reuters.

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