Tuesday, February 9, 2016 - It was recently reported that a bacteria with a mutant gene called MCR-1 was discovered in China. The mutation is resistant to all antibiotics, including colistin, a last-resort drug used to tackle tough bacteria when all other antibiotics have failed. These superbugs were found in 15% of raw meat samples in China, as well as a fifth of the animals tested. Colistin had also failed in 16 patients infected with drug-resistant infections.
Now a patient in Denmark has been diagnosed with an untreatable form of salmonella and scientists also found untreatable bacteria in 5 samples of chicken imported from China through Germany.
“The news that the dangerous colistin resistance gene has been found in Denmark is alarming. This newly identified gene, called MCR-1, is on a mobile piece of DNA that can make copies of itself and then jump to from bacterium to bacterium, spreading resistance. History shows that these mobile resistance genes can spread around the world quickly, silently riding in people, animals, and food. The news that MCR-1 has been discovered in Denmark suggests that this scenario is playing out in real time.”
The Chinese researchers who discovered the untreatable pathogens warned that it could spread globally, but experts are shocked at how quickly they’re making their way around the globe, saying the situation is extremely serious.
And bacteria affected by the MCR-1 gene are especially frightening because they can be transferred to other types of bacteria, which means they could spread quickly between animals and humans.
Professor Frank Møller Aarestrup, a microbiologist at the Technical University of Denmark, said, “This is a very alarming discovery.” Some experts fear it could be the start of a global epidemic of untreatable infections.
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