A bacteria resistant to a “last-resort” antibiotic has been found in a Pennsylvania woman, according to federal health officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Health Alert Network advisory urging health care providers to take steps to prevent antibiotic-resistant infections.
“We as pediatricians need to get better about using antibiotics because the bugs are just going to keep getting more and more resistant,” said Theoklis E. Zaoutis M.D. FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases.
The culprit in the Pennsylvania case is Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria carrying the mcr-1 gene and marks the first such case in a person in the U.S., according to the CDC. The patient presented to a clinic with a urinary tract infection and no recent history of travel outside the country.
“The mcr-1 gene makes bacteria resistant to the antibiotic colistin, which is used as a last-resort drug to treat patients with infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria, including carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae,” according to the CDC.
While the bacteria is not resistant to all antibiotics, CDC officials say there is a risk such a bacteria could develop.
The CDC is working to detect and respond to antibiotic resistance in accordance with its National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. Beginning this fall, it will be providing lab capacity around the country.
Officials are calling for health care providers to do their part by taking precautions to prevent infections, being diligent about cleaning patient rooms and reporting antibiotic resistant infections to public health officials.
Pediatricians and families also should discuss whether an illness really calls for antibiotic treatment, according to Dr. Zaoutis.
“You can (give) a pain reliever for the ear pain that your child has or give some other symptomatic relief for symptoms of a cough and cold,” he said. “You don’t need to give the antibiotics.”
People also can take steps at home by making sure all meat, poultry and fish are cooked properly to kill bacteria.