CDC: Don’t Fret About Superbug. Yet.
Experts at the CDC say they aren’t sure how a strain of E. coli that’s resistant to the usual antibiotic of last resort ended up in the urine sample of a patient. But they say there’s no need for panic, as this particular strain of bacteria still responds to other antibiotics.
The bacteria contains the gene mcr-1, which would make it resistant to colistin, the powerful antibiotic doctors use to treat the most difficult cases. If that gene spreads to other bacteria, they too could develop immunity to antibiotics.
Beth Bell from the CDC says the discovery of the superbug isn’t a surprise. “We've been looking for this mcr-1 gene for quite some time,” she said.
Experts in China and the United Kingdom have found this particular strain of bacteria in pigs and raw pork. It’s also been found in Europe. It’s not clear how the strain got into the patient in Pennsylvania.
The CDC’s Bell says we may never know where the bacteria came from. Yet she concludes, “The risk to the public at this point is pretty much minimal.”