PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In Pennsylvania, a so-called “superbug.”
A 49-year-old woman was infected with CRE, or carbepemen-resistant enterobacteraceae. These are intestinal bacteria resistant to antibiotics typically reserved for resistant bacteria. With it, you could have a variety of infections.
“Urinary tract infections, pneumonia, can cause blood stream infections, as well. Due to the very limited treatment options that we have, it can be quite deadly,” explained Dr. Tom Walsh, Allegheny Health Network infectious diseases specialist.
Doctors have seen cases in China, Italy, and the United Kingdom. This is a first in the United States.
“The Department of Defense released information about a woman with no travel outside of the U.S. who is the first human documented case in the United States of having a urinary tract infection, or any infection, with an organism resistant to every antibiotic,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While this type of bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics has been present in the U.S., what makes this different is this particular strain. It’s also resistant to the only drug left to treat it, an antibiotic called colistimethate, or colistin.
How she became infected isn’t clear.
The CDC warns, more superbugs are likely, as germs have changed their genetics to escape the very weapons we have to fight them.
“When we had our golden age of antibiotics in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, we had very minimal resistant bacteria, we had a ton of new antibiotics come to market. Since then, we’ve had a drying up of the research and development pipeline of antibiotics,” explained Dr. Walsh.
“The medicine cabinet is empty for some patients. It is the end of the road for antibiotics, unless we act urgently,” said Dr. Frieden.