Four people in the US have been diagnosed with a strand of E coli that is resistant to a strong antibiotic that is considered a “last resort.” The latest person with this superbug is a 2-year-old girl from Connecticut who was diagnosed earlier this year, CNN reports.
The toddler was first taken to the doctor when a different bug had made her ill after a trip to the Caribbean in June. While getting treatment for the other bacteria, her lab tests showed that she was also carrying the resistant E. coli. However, her family was also tested and they did not have the bug, therefore, it is likely not transferable.
What makes this particular strain of E. coli difficult is that it has developed a resistance to the antibiotic Colistin. Due to its side effects, Colistin is only used when a bug is resistant to other forms of antibiotics. It is truly a last resort treatment for bacteria. Luckily, all of the US cases of this bug have been treated by other antibiotics.
The Center for Disease Control researchers are currently concerned about the fact that bacteria, when introduced to other bacteria, can pick up certain traits from each other. This means that a bacteria that is resistant to regular forms of antibiotics could then become resistant to Colistin if it interacts with this strain of E. coli, creating a true superbug.
Luckily, CDC epidemiologist, Alexander Kallen, says that the “risk of transmission to otherwise healthy people is relatively low.”