A superbug that resists even last-resort antibiotics has been discovered in the United States for the first time, according to multiple media reports.
Health officials have been dreading the arrival of the bacteria that was found in the urine of a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman last month, according to a report by The Washington Post.
The woman, who had sought treatment at a military clinic for what she thought was a urinary tract infection, was carrying a strain of E. coli that is resistant even to colistin, a course of last resort for fighting “nightmare bacteria,” according to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Doctors have seen the bacteria in Europe, Canada and China, media reports said.
The woman had not traveled outside the United States in five months, media reports said.
A study on the woman’s case was published by Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology, The Washington Post report said.
According to the study, the colistin-resistant E. coli was not a mutation, but had acquired a bit of DNA that carries a resistance-conferring gene known as mcr-1.
Colistin is the last hope for fighting bacteria in the CRE family, which can kill half of patients who become infected, The Washington Post article said.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health would not comment on the woman’s current condition, citing state privacy laws, according to multiple media reports.