- Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announced last week the first documented U.S. case of a patient infected with E. coli bacteria carrying the mcr-1 gene that makes it resistant to colistin, considered the antibiotic of last-resort.
- News of the infection appeared in a study in a publication by the American Society for Microbiology.
- In a separate announcement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed the gene had also been discovered in an intestine sample from a pig raised in Texas.
The gene poses extreme risk because it can be transferred among bacterium within a family, such as E. coli, as well as to other bacterial families, STAT News reported.
If the gene becomes bacteria resistant to all other antibiotics, the stage will be set for a pan-resistant bug for which medicine has no treatment.
"We risk being in a post-antibiotic world," Frieden stated.
The bug was identified in a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman with a urinary tract infection, who had not traveled during the prior five months. That E. coli strain was found not to be pan-resistant and did respond to some antibiotics, Patrick McGann of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., told STAT.