“Alarming” New Superbug Gene Found in China

Scientists in China have found a new gene in people and pigs that makes bacteria highly resistant to a "last-resort" class of antibiotics.

The discovery was described as "alarming" by experts, who called for urgent restrictions on the use of polymoxins, a class of antibiotics widely used in livestock farming.

The researchers collected bacteria samples from pigs at slaughterhouses across four provinces and from chicken and pork samples sold in 30 open markets and 27 supermarkets between 2011 and 2014.  They also looked at bacteria samples from patients in two hospitals in Guangdong and Zhejiang.

The research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, found a high prevalence of the “superbug” gene called mcr-1 in E. coli samples from animals and raw meat. And mcr-1 was found in 16 E. coli samples from 1,322 hospitalized patients.

Additionally, the team identified evidence of the gene being transferred between common bacteria such as E. coli, which causes infections like pneumonia. This suggests that although currently confined to China, the superbug gene is likely to emulate other resistance genes and spread beyond China.

The scientists said the the finding highlights the importance of restricting the use of antibiotics, particularly in agriculture.

China is the world’s largest user of the colistin, a polymyxin antibiotic that is in high demand throughout the world for agriculture and veterinarian use.

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Sourced from: Reuters, Alarming new "superbug" gene found in animals and people in China Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/18/us-health-bacteria-gene-idUSKCN0T739620151118#9S1rjk3BQVe3wGiy.99