Newest Superbug Has Been in U.S. Longer Than Thought
Resistance to multiple types of last-ditch antibiotics may be spreading through the U.S.—but the lurking bug is hard to find.
It’s been in the U.S. longer than anyone realized, and it’s combining with other types of antibiotic resistance in a manner that signals danger to come.
It’s the “new superbug” MCR—actually a gene, carried by gut bacteria, that confers resistance to the absolutely last-ditch antibiotic colistin.
The newest finding of the gene, being reported by New Jersey scientists in the journal mBio, doesn’t reveal an untreatable superbug—yet. But it raises enough concerns that health authorities are switching tracks, from just looking for the gene in the U.S. to strategizing how to prevent it spreading.
The details are these: Microbiologists at Rutgers University have found that, in August 2014, a 76-year-old local man was carrying a strain of E. coli that contained the