Friday, September 02, 2016

Worry over new "superbug"

A few years ago, my daughter had MRSA--an antibiotic resistant staph--and I saw her blood tests--it listed on them the antibiotics that would not cure it. Luckily we found one that did.

Now, a recent study in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy found a second US patient resistant to colistin, considered the drug of last resort.

Audrey Schuetz, MS, a clinical microbiologist at Mayo, was asked about this gene mcr-1, which is carried by certain bacteria, and in a rare number of cases, leads to colistin resistance.

Even patients affected can get well, but it depends on many factors, she says. These include the site of the infection (skin or in bloodstream), and the ability of the patient's immune system and the type of bacterium involved.

At Mayo and other places they test for resistance to colistin, They grow a sample and see if colistin kills it. They can also test for mcr-1, but it takes a long time.

Can this gene spread between bacteria? Apparently yes.

Meanwhile, the doctors are assessing combos of older antibiotics and other approaches if colistin doesn't work.

What can people do? Use antimicrobials such as sanitizers sparingly. And don't expect the doctor to hand over a prescription for antibiotics everytime you go.

People ask for them for VIRUSES. Antibiotics don't kill viruses.

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