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UPDATE: Warnings, FAQs Issued After Woman Dies of Antibiotic-Resistant Superdrug

Jan 18, 2017 09:37 AM EST

Public health officials from Nevada recently reported the case of a woman who had died in Reno in September from what appears to be an incurable infection. Tests showed the superbug that spread in her system fend off 26 different antibiotics.

These were all antibiotics that are presently available in the United States at the time. Alexander Kallen, medical officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, added this is concrete proof that antibiotic resistance is becoming a reality.

Although this appears to be not the first time someone in the United States has been infected with pan-resistant bacteria. It is not uncommon at this point, but it is definitely alarming.

James Johnson, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota, said this is just a "harbinger" of future events to come. Other scientists meanwhile are saying the case is just another sign that researchers and governments need to take the idea of antibiotic resistance more seriously.

According to a report, published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report of the CDC, note this case underscores the need for hospitals to ask incoming patients about foreign travel and also whether they had been recently hospitalized elsewhere.

Stat News notes that this particular case involved someone in India, where multi-drug resistant bacteria are more common than they are in the US. She had broken her right femur while in India a couple of years back, and then later developed a bone infection in her femur and her hip and became hospitalized in the country for a few more times.

The unnamed woman, then in her 70s, went to a hospital in Reno for care where it was discovered she was infected with what is called a CRE. It's a carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, a general name of bacteria that live in the gut that developed resistance to the class of antibiotics called carbapenemes. This is an important last line of defense used when other antibiotics fail.

Stat News says CDC Director Tom Frieden called CREs as nightmare bacteria because of the danger they pose for spreading antibiotic resistance. In the woman in Nevada's case, her bacteria is called the Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bug that is often the cause of urinary tract infections.

A sample of her bacteria was sent to the CDC in Atlanta for further testing. It was then seen that there was nothing available to US doctors would have cured the infection. This proves that bugs are developing resistance faster than we can make new antibiotics. 

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