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Antibiotic Resistance: Superbug Infection Claims Life of an American Women

Antibiotic Resistance: Superbug Infection Claims Life of an American Women

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  • Antibiotic resistance is an emerging threat to the world.
  • Superbug infected women in the United States found to die due to the resistance developed to all available antibiotics.
  • Multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae strain is found to be an urgent threat to human health.

An American women in the United States died due to a superbug infection which was contracted while being treated for a thigh bone fracture in India two years ago.

Superbug infection was found to be resistant for every other antibiotic that was used for treatment. The infection was caused by carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which is a multi-resistant organism that is linked with high mortality rate.


The research team found that all the carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) to be resistant for all types of antimicrobial drugs that were available.

Around 10 million people will die due to antibiotic resistant infections every year by 2050.

The 70 year old women from Nevada in the United States was admitted in an acute care hospital last year after an extended trip in India.

The women was primarily been diagnosed with systemic inflammatory response syndrome which resulted from an infected right hip seroma (collection of fluid under the skin).

Physicians prescribed around 14 antibiotics and none of them were found to work for the women. The lab testing confirmed the bacteria to be Klebsiella pneumoniae. An isolate sample of the bacteria was sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further testing to determine the mechanism of resistance.

CDC Testing
The presence of New Delhi metallo- beta-lactamase (NDM-1) enzyme was confirmed in the testing. This enzyme was found to directly breakdown the carbapenems ( a group of antibiotics that is used for the treatment of multi-drug resistant infections).

The antimicrobial testing from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the superbug was found to be resistant for 26 different antibiotics which also included aminoglycosides and polymixins.

The strain was also found to be resistant to tigecycline which was developed specifically to overcome drug-resistant organisms. There was no treatment option for the women, her condition was deteriorating and she died due to septic shock in last september.

Carbapenem- resistant enterobacteriaceae is also referred to as the nightmare bacteria as it can easily spread in the hospital settings.

The research team also said that the NDM-1 enzyme is mobile and may enable resistance which is carried on the mobile pieces of the DNA known as plasmids which can spread to other parts of the body.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae as an urgent threat to humans.

Nick Thomson, leader of the bacterial genomics and evolution group at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in England, said, that this bacteria could be more and more resistant.

"The report highlights international travel and treatment overseas as a feature in the introduction of this pan-resistant isolate into the USA," he said.

Since the isolated strain is found to be a truly untreatable infection, healthcare professionals are continuously trying to seek options for preventing transmission.

New Delhi metallo-beta lactamase enzyme (NDM-1 enzyme)
  • New Delhi metallo-beta lactamase enzyme is essential for allowing the bacteria to be resistant for a broad range of carbopenem antibiotics.
  • The enzyme was first isolated in Klebsiella pneumoniae isolate from a Swedish patient of Indian origin in 2008.
  1. NDM-1 New Delhi Metallo beta Lactamase : A Review - (http://www.ctbscience.fopras.org/images/vol1no1/ctbs-ra-1-1-6.pdf )

Source: Medindia

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