Thursday, July 14, 2016

"Superbug" strains discovered across the world

Contributed by Siddarth David & Dr. Tamhankar

The multi-drug resistant strain of E. Coli with the MCR-1 gene has been isolated in New York, in the United States last week, making it second case the US. In April an isolate with MCR-1 gene was identified in a patient in Pennsylvania who had urinary tract infection. The new case was identified by the SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Program, of JMI Laboratories based in the US, that has been analysing samples from US hospitals and those across the world since 1997. Out of the nearly 20,000 samples tested the lab found almost 2% (390) samples showed the presence of theMCR-1 gene including from Germany, Italy, Spain, Malaysia, Honk Kong, Brazil and Russia. These were associated with bloodstream infections, skin infections and urinary tract infections.

The discovery of the colistin, a last-line antibiotic, resistant gene in samples from meat as well as hospital in China last year had led to alarm bells ringing panic across the world on the extent and spread of the resistance. Moreover most of the cases the gene was carried on the plasmid DNA of the bacteria which would make it easy for it to be transferred between bacteria, facilitating its easy and rapid spread which could become a global public health crisis. After the discovery of the case in the US, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health are working on trying to trace the origin of the bacteria to prevent any possible spread as well as understand its environment to ascertain if there could be more cases.

This, is another call for the adoption and implementation of stricter and more rational antibiotic use across the world in order to avoid more chances of the development of such multi-drug resistant "superbugs".  

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