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Medicine Biotech

'Superbug' Resistant To 26 Antibiotics Kills A Patient In Nevada (upi.com) 296

An anonymous reader quotes UPI: A Nevada woman in her 70s who'd recently returned from India died in September from a "superbug" infection that resisted all antibiotics, according to a report released Friday... The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention "basically reported that there was nothing in our medicine cabinet to treat this lady," report co-author Dr. Randall Todd told the Reno Gazette-Journal. He's director of epidemiology and public health preparedness for the Washoe County Health District, in Reno... CDC testing subsequently revealed the germ was New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase -- a highly resistant form of CRE typically found outside the United States.
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'Superbug' Resistant To 26 Antibiotics Kills A Patient In Nevada

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2017 @06:14PM (#53668913)

    Years ago I knew a girl who was a fellow student in high school.
    She took a trip to India and came in contact with some awful pathogen which
    proceeded to destroy multiple organs and resulted in her death, despite the
    best available medical care in the US.

    India is still a filthy third world country, with raw sewage flowing in the streams and rivers.

    Given how many good, interesting, and quite safe places there are to travel in the world, you'd
    have to wonder why people want to go to a shithole like India.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @07:02PM (#53669149) Journal

      Given how many good, interesting, and quite safe places there are to travel in the world, you'd
      have to wonder why people want to go to a shithole like India.

      Have you ever been to Nevada?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      "India is still a filthy third world country, with raw sewage flowing in the streams and rivers."

      Then again if you were born in India, and grow up with your immune system warding off the bugs, you will probably be able to leap tall buildings and shoot webs with your fingertips. Why waste your time giving Americans bad customer service from call centers?

  • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @06:18PM (#53668923)

    ...have been warning us for decades and nobody cared to listen.

    Enjoy your new wave of death, humanity.

    • Only 7 billion (and counting) more to go.

    • >"...have been warning us for decades and nobody cared to listen."

      Actually, lots and lots and lots of people listened and acted. But it was not enough and too late. For many years, good physicians have been restricting antibiotic use and there has been a huge educational push telling people they MUST take all their antibiotics, exactly as prescribed. And healthcare facilities have been using all kinds of new techniques to hold down infections and transmission- silver, UV light sterilizers, better clea

      • Until we make use of anti-biotics in agriculture an international crime only inherently expensive to produce anti-biotics will last long.

        Factory agriculture will run anything cheap into the ground very quickly.

        • > Until we make use of anti-biotics in agriculture an international crime

          You can't have a cheap burger or cheap poultry without antibiotics, so this will not happen.

      • Try freaking farmers and greedy shareholder based companies who own them!

        They want bigger and better returns each year for their investments which means feed all animals with antibiotic laden feed. When you eat chicken or beef you consume these and create these superbugs.

  • by Stormbringer ( 3643 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @06:20PM (#53668931)

    > a highly resistant form of CRE typically found outside the United States

    You mean, WAS typically found outside the USA. How many people did she pass this on to before she took to her bed?

    • Re:oops (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @07:04PM (#53669165)

      Probably no one. With a few notable exceptions (bacterial meningitis, TB) most bacterial infections aren't very contagious. You mainly pick them up if you're exposed to a large source of them in the environment (drinking or swimming in contaminated water, poorly cleaned kitchens, cuts, that kind of thing) or if you have an already weakened immune system.

    • You mean, WAS typically found outside the USA.

      Well, we just need to build a special wall, you see, around America, that will magically keep out the Indian Superbugs.

      And we'll make the Indians pay for it! I mean, the Indians have tons of money, that they make with all those casinos in America!

  • Look to history (Score:5, Insightful)

    by namgge ( 777284 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @06:21PM (#53668937)
    Time to start remembering how infection was controlled in the 30s and 40s before antibiotics came along. People from that generation were really keen on (a) quarantining, (b) keeping hospitals spotless and (c) cleaning even the smallest wound with iodine in alcohol. I still recall the stinging pain.
    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      There's a lot to that. Many infections acquired in hospitals are traceable to unwashed hands, unsanitized surfaces and (of all things), doctors' ties dragging over everything.

      Lose the ties, break out the bleach and Lysol, and consider cold plasma hand cleaning stations.

    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      (b) and (c) are part of the problem, although many places are still failing badly on their attempts at (b) which isn't helping either. Survival of the fittest also applies to bacteria and viruses, so as our countermeasures have become progressively more potent they have collectively evolved to be more resilient, and since their lifecycles are much faster than our product development cycles it's a race that we were never going to win.
      • There are limits to how much energy they can expend on resistance and still hang around in the environment.

        They can't afford to be extremophiles just on the odd chance of infecting a human.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ColdWetDog ( 752185 )

      You apparently don't realize that hospital acquired infections are at the lowest point ever. We've lopped off all of the low hanging fruit and are now cruising into the noise. Still useful work to be done, but you have a pretty weird and completely unsupported notion of Ye Olden Tymes.

      Nobody has forgotten quarantine - we call it 'isolation' because it's easier to spell. Hospitals are kept quite clean and iodine is a shitty topical antiseptic (alcohol is fine).

      • by namgge ( 777284 )
        "Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections." https://www.cdc.gov/drugresist... [cdc.gov] "Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that most happen in the general community; however, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in inpatient healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes" https://www.cdc.gov/drugresist [cdc.gov]
        • >"Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that most happen in the general community; however, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in inpatient healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes"

          And that is mostly because the people in healthcare settings are already sick and have compromised or weakened immune systems.

        • "Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections."

          Well, that sucks. Now, how do those numbers compare to historical measurements, accounting for the significant improvement in reporting reliability? The reality [cdc.gov] is that infectious disease rates were about three to five times worse in the 30s and 40s, because we were still at the beginning of a large-scale improvement process in general sanitation throughout daily life, not just hospitals.

          "Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that most happen in the general community; however, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in inpatient healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes"

          Let's say that again, simplified: "most deaths occur in care facilities". That's a great talking point, but what about wh

          • by namgge ( 777284 )

            I see what you did there:

                  "infectious diseases" != "antibiotic resistant infections"

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        iodine is a shitty topical antiseptic (alcohol is fine).

        Really? Huh. I'll have to remember that the next time I scrub in with an iodine sponge. I'll let my colleagues know that they don't need to scrub the incision area with an iodine solution, 'cause it doesn't work. And when I get an exposure I'll not bother with the iodine scrub even though it is mandated by my oversight board.

        Seriously, iodine is a "shitty" topical antiseptic? Where do these people come from?

        Iodine is one of those super antiseptics that, when used properly, kills essentially everything,

        • Why is iodine used for those things ("scrub the incision area", etc) instead of alcohol?

          Not disagreeing with anything you said, just curious why iodine is chosen over alcohol which I am under the impression will also kill pretty much everything.

    • Time to break out the bacteriophages. Fighting infections with tiny space landing craft.

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @07:04PM (#53669167)

    Industrial meat farmers in the US (and other countries) use literally tons of antibiotics to improve "yields". This leads to resistant strains of bacteria which are passed to humans. Use in chickens and pigs is particularly problematic because of the large amount of antibiotics and the widespread distribution. Most chicken you buy in the store is contaminated with drug resistant bacteria.
    Just say no to antibiotic treated animals.

    • Bingo. There is almost no point trying to limit excess human use of antibiotics beyond current efforts, when agriculture is using them wildly. In this case, the disease is resistant to antibiotics that are mainly used for agriculture. So the problem is definitely agricultural antibiotics.

      • by mspohr ( 589790 )

        Industrial meat production uses more than 10 times the amount of antibiotics as human use.
        Human antibiotic use for the common cold, etc. is a problem but not nearly as bad as farm animal use.

    • When people breed animals, they are artificially selecting for their own desired traits. When they use antibiotics, they are in effect selecting for antibiotic resistant strains.

      You'd think farmers would get the picture as well or better than others.....

    • I don't disagree with what you're saying, but according to TFA, the woman acquired the bug while in India - a country with the highest percentage of vegetarians [wikipedia.org] in the world. This would suggest basic sanitation and health care, and being sure to complete prescription antibiotic regimens are bigger factors than the use of antibiotics in livestock.
      • According to this article,
        Antibiotics are readily available over the counter at most pharmacies leading to widespread overuse.
        He also cited poor public health practices, unsanitary living conditions, and increasing use of antibiotics for growth promotion in poultry as factors that contribute to the diminishing powers of antibiotics in India. With continued use of the drugs or their misuse, bacteria evolve into stronger forms that are resistant to antibiotics.

      • by skam240 ( 789197 )

        28.8 rate of vegetarianism then? I don't think you realize the remainder population in India that consumes meat is therefore about twice the population of the US. Now couple that with the fact that the country is maybe half the size of the US and you can be assured that they are pumping those animals up with anything that will make them grow faster (to make up for lack of grazing space) at rate minimum to that of America's worst offenders.

        With that said a bit less than 80% of all antibiotics sold in this c

    • I have to wonder what people think happens on a farm. I grew up on a farm where we had pigs and dairy cattle. We gave the animals antibiotics, but it was rare.

      For the pigs we'd give them a shot of antibiotics when we'd get a batch of new pigs in. A pig's life is short, less than a year, and they'd typically get one shot of antibiotics in their life. Pigs cost money, so do antibiotics, so the job of a pig farmer is to balance those costs. Penicillin is cheap but not free. If a pig got sick then it might get another shot. If it got real sick then it got a different kind of shot, as in from a rifle. The carcass of a pig like that could not be sold for meat but the leather was valuable, for a while at least. At some point the rendering truck stopped picking up the dead pigs for free and started to charge for the service, that's when Dad started to just bury them. Any pigs sold for meat are tested for antibiotics. I'm not sure what happened if they tested positive but Dad would make sure that any pig given a shot would not go to market until enough time has passed for the antibiotics to get out of their system.

      The dairy cattle would also typically get one shot of antibiotics in their life, when they'd get dehorned. This was because they were at risk of infection at this point until the wound healed over. Any cattle given antibiotics recently were not able to be sold for meat, and they are also tested like the pigs. Any cow given antibiotics while milking had the milk discarded until the antibiotics were out of their system. Milk was also regularly tested for antibiotics. If antibiotics were found in the milk this would mean the milk was discarded. Since the milk of an entire herd was put in the same tank a single cow testing positive would contaminate thousands of gallons of milk. I remember having to do this before, Dad was pissed since that meant not getting money for that milk.

      Here's the thing, antibiotics are necessary. I thought it funny too on how much farmers rely on antibiotics if it upset so many people. I saw the value in the Army. When going through in processing I got an antibiotic shot, as did everyone else in the company. It turns out that when you put a lot of living and breathing beings in an enclosed space, be they recruits in a barracks or pigs in a shed, they tend to get sick. I still ended up getting a pretty nasty lung infection while in the Army, they gave me a potent antibiotic that made me sensitive to the sun. I got the worst sunburn in my life then.

      Just say no to antibiotic treated animals.

      If you don't like it then go ahead and buy your "organic" meat or go vegan. I know what farmers do to get animals to market and if these animals weren't treated for infections then meat gets real expensive due to losses. Quality would go down too because healthy animals make tasty meat. Since so many people in this world seem able to eat this meat and live well I'm trying to figure out what the problem is exactly.

  • Colistin for your animal feed.
    https://www.alibaba.com/produc... [alibaba.com]

  • by LeftCoastThinker ( 4697521 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @07:11PM (#53669201)

    The reality is that most resistant strains of bacteria originate from antibiotics abuse, and the biggest abusers of antibiotics are third world countries and those who raise livestock. Normal un-resistant bacteria are actually more healthy vital and will grow and displace resistant strains because resistant strains are typically resistant due to the fact that they are missing receptors or features that antibiotics use to kill the bacteria. Those same features allow normal bacteria to be stronger and multiply faster than the resistant strains.

    What the doctors and scientists are only recently realizing is that the way to deal with resistant strains is that we must crack down on antibiotics abuse in these two areas globally, and greatly step up and enforce the use of post-antibiotic use of un-resistant probiotics, replenishing the healthy, easy to kill bacteria in people and farm animals which then come out in their waste/manure/fertilizer or sometimes on the meat/eggs/milk etc. and spread from there.

    I recall reading about a river in India where a pharmaceutical had been illegally dumping waste antibiotics and something like 90% of all bacteria tested in the river were resistant. The solution, after stopping the pollution, should have been to seed the river with a continuous stream of healthy un-resistant bacteria, and over time (maybe a year) the healthy, un-resistant bacteria would supplant the resistant strains 99% of the time, greatly reducing the odds of exposure to a resistant strain. We are just now discovering that regular old soil bacteria have over 40 different methods of killing off resistant bacteria that are completely new to us. We can and will convert some into new antibiotics, but we must learn from the past and minimize the spread of resistant strains of bacteria now by spreading as much as possible the un-resistant strains which will in turn supplant the resistant strains we have fostered around the globe with minimal additional human intervention.

    http://www.the-scientist.com/?... [the-scientist.com]

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @07:19PM (#53669231)

    CDC testing subsequently revealed the germ was New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase -- a highly resistant form of CRE

    It should at least read "revealed the germ CONTAINED New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase". NDM-1 is not a bacteria, it's an enzyme possessed by resistant bacteria that inactivates antibiotics.

    What's really fun is that this gene can potentially be transferred to other types of bacteria laterally...

    • CDC testing subsequently revealed the germ was New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase -- a highly resistant form of CRE

      It should at least read "revealed the germ CONTAINED New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase". NDM-1 is not a bacteria, it's an enzyme possessed by resistant bacteria that inactivates antibiotics.

      What's really fun is that this gene can potentially be transferred to other types of bacteria laterally...

      I love the way bacteria, and other organisms can exchange genes laterally. It means evolution doesn't follow a nice straightforward tree structure; its a graph, with cycles, possibly not even directional (ie gene exchanges can go both ways). That makes things a lot more interesting.

  • Harvard Medical (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Saturday January 14, 2017 @07:34PM (#53669317)
    Earlier this year Harvard Medical School posted this video [youtu.be] showing a bacteria mutating over the course of 11 days until it is resistant to the anti-bacterial they used. 11 days!
    • Re:Harvard Medical (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @01:51AM (#53670591)
      Thankfully, it's not as scary as it seems - resistance evolves easily but it carries heavy metabolic cost for bacteria. So resistant bacteria are outcompeted by non-resistant ones easily.

      The problem here is that eventually bacteria always find a way to evade antibiotics with low enough metabolic cost.
    • Well, I don't believe in evolution, so I should be safe. God bless me!
  • yes India has terrible controls on their antibiotic use, but remember that US farmers are using large amounts of antibiotics too keep their overcrowded livestock from dying too soon.

    • by skam240 ( 789197 )

      So does India

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      yes India has terrible controls on their antibiotic use, but remember that US farmers are using large amounts of antibiotics too keep their overcrowded livestock from dying too soon.

      India is a country with a median annual income of $616. With 1.2 billion people, well, a lot of things like providing medical care are going to be tough. We're headed that way too. While per capita GDP growth has recovered from the Great Recession, median income has declined.

  • by Cafe Alpha ( 891670 ) on Sunday January 15, 2017 @05:24AM (#53671005) Journal

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    Never got popular because it's harder than a pill and so no one puts the effort in to get it past the FDA

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