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MCR-1 Gene: Last Year an Ultra Superbug Snuck Into US

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Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016 09:42 AM

The MCR-1 gene, a superbug discovered overseas last year, has also snuck into the United States and was unknowingly detected back in May 2015, reported National Geographic magazine.

A woman in Pennsylvania originally thought to have a urinary tract infection was recently diagnosed at a military-affiliated medical clinic with an element of the MCR-1 gene. She carried a strain of E. coli resistant to a range of drugs.

But in a July study in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, JMI Laboratories researchers said they found MCR-1 in a stored sample of E. coli that was collected more than a year ago in New York, said National Geographic.

JMI Laboratories, a private company that tests bacteria sent in by hospitals around the world, often holds on to samples after initial testing to periodically do fresh research with them, which led to the discovery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the MCR-1 gene makes bacteria resistant to the antibiotic colistin, often a last-resort drug to treat patients with multi-drug-resistant infections.

The MCR-1 gene, which first emerged in 2015 in China, exists on a small piece of DNA that is capable of moving from one bacterium to another, spreading antibiotic resistance among bacterial species, according to the CDC.

Pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Frank Esper, from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, told ABC News that the second MCR-1 report was alarming but not surprising.

"It's basically a wake-up call," said Esper. "It's only going to be a matter of time where the perfect storm happens. ... Next thing you know, you throw your hands up and say we're out of ammunition (to fight certain infections)."

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The MCR-1 gene, a superbug discovered overseas last year, has also snuck into the United States and was unknowingly detected back in May 2015.
mcr-1, gene, superbug, nyc
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2016-42-12
Tuesday, 12 Jul 2016 09:42 AM
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