|The new bacterial strain can pass on its resistance to other bacteria.|
According to a news story from Australia, a new strain of e.coli has been detected that is resistant to every antibiotic that currently exists, prompting fears of a return to the pre-antibiotic era when even simple infections could have deadly consequences.
Chinese and British scientists identified the strain in a pig, then in raw pork meat and then in a small number of people. It was hoped that it could be contained there. It has now been found in animals in Malaysia, Germany, and in a man in Denmark who has never been outside that country.
What makes the bacteria unique is that is possesses a gene known as Mcr-1, which is thought to make it resistant to antibiotics. The problem is that this strain of e. coli can also infect other bacteria and pass on this immunity.
Practically, it means that if left unchecked, scientists are concerned that common bacteria that cause most urinary, blood, and intestinal infections could become immune to every antibiotic.
Medical researchers are either going to have to devise a new class of antibiotic drugs or figure out how to switch off the gene in question. The window for containment has passed. That's the problem with biological threats; by the time you know you have a problem, it's often too late to contain it in any meaningful way.
For years, physicians have been limiting antibiotics prescribed to patients to attempt to hold off on antibiotic resistance. The problem is that out food is laced with it, because it is used in pigs, chickens and cows to help them grow faster and bigger than they would without the drugs. The article states that 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are used in livestock.
Original story: LINK