Antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ reportedly found in U.S. for first time

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For the first time, an antibiotic-resistant “superbug” has been found in the U.S., the Washington Post reported on Thursday. The is the first strain in the U.S. that's resistant to so-called antibiotics of last resort.

The Post reported that the strain of E. coli was found in the urine of a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman last month, citing a report published in a journal called Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. The authors of the report said the discovery "heralds the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria."

Medical professionals have long warned that the evolution of antibotic-resistant strains could lead to an unparalleled medical crisis, with minor infections or simple surgeries becoming fatal.

“It basically shows us that the end of the road isn’t very far away for antibiotics -- that we may be in a situation where we have patients in our intensive-care units, or patients getting urinary tract infections for which we do not have antibiotics,” CDC director Tom Frieden told the Post.

A local doctor we spoke with says these cases are rare and hospitals are ready for them.

"If patients have infections resistant to antibiotics, there are protocols in place to help keep other patients safe," said Dr. Matthew Bressie of PacMed Primary & Specialty Care Clinics. "We typically isolate patients, we wear protective equipment to avoid spreading that infection."

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Colistin is the antibiotic of last resort for particularly dangerous types of superbugs, including a family of bacteria known as CRE, which health officials have dubbed "nightmare bacteria." In some instances, these superbugs kill up to 50 percent of patients who become infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called CRE among the country's most urgent public health threats.