The superbug gene MCR-1 made E. coli resistant to an antibiotic named colistin, which is commonly used as a last-resort drug when other medications fail to work due to multi-drug resistance.
The patient’s body didn’t respond to colistin, but health experts were able to treat her with other antibiotics and she fully recovered. The child is a 2-year-old girl, and the detection was an incidental finding, the Washington Post reported, citing CDC officials. She developed fever and bloody diarrhea on June 12, two days before returning to the United States.She recovered, Walters said.
Report’s co-author Maroya Spalding Walters, CDC epidemiologist, said that in a stool test, E. coli containing the mcr-1 gene has been detected.
“The concern is that it could move into bacteria that are already highly resistant and could render them resistant to all antibiotics, but we have not seen this in the USA”, she said.
The first MCR-1 case in the country was discovered in April of this year when a 46-year-old woman went into a Pennsylvania clinic for a check-up on her UTI symptoms. The fear is that the superbug will spread its antibiotic resistant abilities to other bacteria that are already resistant to other types of medicines and the result will be a bacteria that is unstoppable.
Again, the child cleared up the mcr-1 E. coli on her own, the team said.
“The patient had no worldwide travel for approximately one year, no livestock exposure and a limited role in meal preparation with store-bought groceries; however, she had multiple and repeated admissions to four medical facilities during 2016”, they added.
Based on this initial research, scientists at the CDC are hopeful that the superbug won’t turn into a widespread phenomenon, but they still urge healthcare providers to be cautious.
The CDC is recommending increased testing for the superbug gene among certain types of bacteria that show resistance to colistin. It has also been found in hospitals, so it might be transmitted in that setting.
What makes mcr-1 more frightening is that it’s found on a plasmid. The man was treated successfully with other drugs, and researchers said the bacteria did not cause a major outbreak of drug-resistant infection.
On an interesting note, however, the E. coli with the mcr-1 gene was not what had caused the CT child’s traveler’s diarrhea.
Six family members were tested, but none of them tested positive for carrying the mcr-1, said the scientists.
The CDC on Friday also updated an investigation into one of the four other colistin-resistant cases, a Pennsylvania woman whose case was first reported in May.
No bacteria with the superbug gene were found among 105 people who were screened. When a bacteria survives the use of a drug, it becomes a superbug, and then when it multiplies it passes on its drug resistant traits, and, as stated above, it can also intermingle its genetic makeup with other germs.
“These findings suggest that the risk for transmission from a colonized patient to otherwise healthy persons, including persons with substantial exposure to the patient, might be relatively low”, the authors of the investigation into the first detected U.S. case wrote.