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CRE, a family of bacteria pictured here, is considered one of the deadliest superbugs because it causes infections that are often resistant to most antibiotics. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Reuters)

"Nightmare bacteria"

New superbug found in U.S. woman could mean “the end of the road” for antibiotics

By WITW Staff on May 27, 2016

A bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort has been found in a person in the United States for the first time, raising concerns from top U.S. public health officials about the future efficacy of antibiotics. A strain of E. Coli that resists the antibiotic colistin was found last month in the urine of a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman, according to a study published Thursday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Colistin is used to treat antibiotic-resistant superbugs that have been known to kill 50 percent of patients who become infected.

CDC officials are working to interview the woman and her family to determine how she became infected, and whether others she had been in contact with could have contracted the bacteria. The woman received treatment at an outpatient military facility in Pennsylvania, but further details about the patient and her case have not been disclosed.

As antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread, even the most routine infections can not only become untreatable, but life-threatening. “It basically shows us that the end of the road isn’t very far away for antibiotics,” said Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden on Thursday. “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.”

Last year, more than $150 million was allotted to the CDC in order to prevent and monitor superbug outbreaks.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.