U.S. detects bug resistant to antibiotic of last resort

May 27, 2016, 8:05 AM EDT
(Source: Caroline Davis2010/flickr)
(Source: Caroline Davis2010/flickr)

In a development that set the alarms ringing for medical fraternity around the world, the U.S. detected a bacterium which is resistant to the antibiotic used as last resort. An infection in a 48-year old woman from Pennsylvania, showed resistance to Colistin, a drug that is used when all other antibiotics prove ineffective.

Colistin resistance first came into light in China last year, writes the BBC. The discovery was followed by rigorous testing in Europe and Asia, where a number of bugs were found to have developed resistance against colistin.

With its ability to spread rapidly between species, the bacteria’s D.N.A. presents a big challenge for scientists, who believe that colistin resistance will eventually combine with other antibiotic resistance to create untreatable infections.

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance has emerged as one of the biggest threats to global health today, notes CNN. The world faces the possibility of running out of antibiotics if urgent measures are not taken, said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.)

Bacteria that are resistant to a majority of antibiotics infect approximately 2 million Americans every year, according to the figures by the C.D.C.