If it sometimes seems the idea of resistance to antibiotics, although confusing, is more theoretical than real, then read on.
Officials of public health of Nevada report on a case of a woman who died in Reno, in September of an incurable infection. Tests showed that the superbug had spread in her system can fend off 26 different antibiotics.
“It was tested against everything that is available in the United States … and was not effective,” said Dr. Alexander Kallen, a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of healthcare quality promotion.
Although this is not the first time that someone in the U.S. is infected with pan-resistant bacteria, at this point, it is not common. It is, however, alarming.
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“I think this is the harbinger of the future evil to come,” said Dr. James Johnson, professor of infectious diseases medicine at the University of Minnesota and is a specialist at the Minnesota VA Medical Center.
Other scientists say that the case is yet another sign that the researchers and the governments should take antibiotic resistance seriously. It was reported Thursday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a journal published by the CDC.
The authors of the report note this case emphasises the need for hospitals to ask incoming patients about travel abroad and also about the question or they had recently been admitted to hospital elsewhere.
The case concerned a woman who had spent a considerable amount of time in India, where the multi-resistant bacteria are more common than they are in the US. She broke her right femur — the large bone in the hip, while in India a few years back. They later developed a bone infection in her femur and her hip and was in the hospital a number of times in India in the two years that followed. Her latest recording, in a hospital in India was in June of last year.
The unnamed woman, described as a resident of Washoe County, it was in the 70’s went in the hospital in Reno for care in mid-August, where it was discovered she was infected with what is called a CRE — carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae. That is a general name to describe bacteria, which often live in the intestines that developed resistance to the class of antibiotics called carbapenems — a major last-line of defense used when other antibiotics are not. CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden called CREs a “nightmare bacteria”, because of the danger that they pose to the spread of resistance against antibiotics.
In the woman’s case, the specific bacteria assaulting her was called Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bug that is often the cause of urinary tract infections.
Examination in the hospital showed resistance to 14 drugs, the drug options in the hospital, said Lei Chen, a senior epidemiologist with the Washoe County Health District and of the author of the report. “It was my first time to have a [resistance] pattern in our region,” she said.
A example is sent to the CDC in Atlanta for further investigation, which showed that there is nothing available to US doctors would have to cure this infection. Kallen admitted people in this area experience a sinking feeling when she is faced with a superbug such as this.
“I think it’s about. We have used for so long, only newer and newer antibiotics. But it is clear that the errors often [develop resistance] faster than we can make new ones,” he said.
Doctors and scientists who track the spread of antibiotic resistance — the rapidly proliferating swarm of superbugs — see this case as a big red flag.
“If we wait for some sort of big signal that we need to attack internationally, we need an aggressive program, both nationally and internationally to attack this problem, here is a signal that we need to do that,” said Lance Price, who stands at the head of the Antibiotic Resistance-Action Center at George Washington University.
There is international recognition of the threat, that of an expert report published last year warned could kill 10 million a year by 2050 if there is nothing to. In September, the UN General Assembly held a high-level meeting on antibiotic resistance, only the fourth time the body was focused on a health problem.
The woman in Nevada was captured in isolation; the staff that treated her use infection control precautions to prevent spread of the superbug in the hospital. Chen and Randall Todd, a department of health colleague, told STAT tests done to look for other infections, but so far none have been detected.
Johnson said that it is likely, however, that other people in the US are to carry similar bacteria in their intestines and can become ill. “It is possible that this is the only person in the USA and they had the misfortune to go to India, pick up the bad bug, come back and here it is, we found her and now she’s dead, is the way of the USA. That is very unlikely,” he said.
“People have asked me many times” How afraid should we be?’ … ‘How far are we to the edge of the abyss?’ And I tell them: We are all falling off the cliff,” Johnson said. “It happens. It happens so far on a relatively small scale, and especially far away from us. The people we don’t see … so it doesn’t have the same emotional impact.”