Friday, 27 May 2016

The United States announces first known case of 'superbug' that cannot be killed by any existing antibiotic

PHOTO: Bacteria is seen here in a colored scanning electron micrograph.

American health officials sounded an alarm yesterday, revealing that researchers may have uncovered a strain of bacteria so resistant to treatment that some of the toughest antibiotics cannot kill it.

Bacteria found in a Pennsylvania woman suffering from a urinary tract infection was found to be resistant to the antibiotic called colistin, according to a case report released yesterday by the American Society for Microbiology. 

According to reports, the strain of bacteria was isolated from her urine. Colistin is considered a last-resort antibiotic for bacteria that does not respond to medication. It is rarely used because of its harsh side effects.

Officials of the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clarified however that in this woman's case, the bacteria strain was susceptible to a more commonly used antibiotic, making the use of colistin for treatment unnecessary.

"The strain is not resistant to everything. It carries the plasmid [genetic material] for colistin resistance," said Dr. Beth Bell, director of the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases and the person overseeing antibiotic resistance. "The fear is that this could spread to other bacteria and create the bacterium that would be resistant to everything."