The United States of America has their first case of antibiotic resistance. A 49-year-old woman from Pennsylvania was recorded to have the “superbug” which even colistin failed to cure.
The woman, whose personal information was not disclosed, visited a clinic with symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) last April 26, according to the study. After series of medication that didn’t work, she was thoroughly checked by sending a sample of her urine to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, only to find out that she has a rare case of E. coli infection that does not react to any form of antibiotic, including colistin.
Colistin serves as the last resort for serious cases that require antibiotic. It can cure various “superbugs,” including the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
“It basically shows us that the end of the road isn’t very far away for antibiotics — that we may be in a situation where we have patients in our intensive care units or patients getting urinary-tract infections for which we do not have antibiotics,” Dr. Frieden said on one interview. “I’ve been there for TB patients. I’ve cared for patients for whom there are no drugs left. It is a feeling of such horror and helplessness,” he added. “This is not where we need to be.”
No other details were disclosed, such as how she was able to acquire the “superbug.” However, the patient, including her family is being interviewed to assess how she was able to acquire the bacteria, such as recent hospitalization and health-care exposures. Family members are going through medical procedures, too, to check if they have contracted the bacteria.
The medical facility that she visited is currently being checked for potential cases. The case, according to medical practitioners, can lead to the death of almost half of the infected patients.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when a bacteria continuously mutates despite the presence of therapeutic medications. The most common cause is attributed to the overuse and abuse of antibiotics. There are some places where antibiotics can be purchased at a pharmacy without having a doctor’s prescription. Some people take in antibiotic even though they are unsure about its efficacy and frequency of use. Some even take it to treat viral illnesses such as the common colds.
Antibiotic-resistance is common. There are some bacteria that require a particular type of antibiotic to be controlled or cured.
There are two ways how a bacteria develops antibiotic-resistance. First is when a bacteria releases an enzyme that deactivates the efficacy of an antibiotic. Another method is through “conjugation,” a method wherein bacteria goes through a simple mating process.
Health officials are now calling different pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline to formulate new types of antibiotics that will cure these life-threatening superbugs.
“The medicine cabinet is empty for some patients,” Frieden said. “It is the end of the road unless we act urgently.”