Tags: phantom menace | superbug | antibiotic | resistant

'Phantom Menace' Superbug, Resistant to Antibiotics, on Rise in US

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By    |   Wednesday, 09 Dec 2015 09:19 AM

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that a so-called "phantom menace" superbug is on the rise in the U.S.

According to The Washington Post, the "phantom menace" is a particular strain of CRE (Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) that is resistant to antibiotics. It is somewhat difficult to detect, hence the name.

"Unlike more common types of CRE, it carries a plasmid, or mobile piece of DNA, with an enzyme that breaks down antibiotics. And what makes these bacteria even more dangerous is their ability to transfer that plasmid — and that antibiotic resistance — to normal bacteria that are present in our bodies," The Post explained.

CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in an interview that the problem is potentially grave.

"This is a tricky drug-resistant bacteria, and it isn't easily found," he said. "What we're seeing is an assault by the microbes on the last bastion of antibiotics."

Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is usually developed in one of two ways. Many evolve their genome to become resistant, while others get infected with a plasmid carrying the resistance gene.

In short, the "phantom menace" strain of CRE has a plasmid that can spread to other strains, and give them antibiotic resistance.

From June 2010 to August 2015, the U.S. documented 43 cases of CRE, concentrated in California and Illinois, but present in other states too.

Frieden said these cases were "just the tip of the iceberg."

The new CDC report
was part of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) published last week.

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A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that a so-called "phantom menace" superbug is on the rise in the U.S.
phantom menace, superbug, antibiotic, resistant
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2015-19-09
Wednesday, 09 Dec 2015 09:19 AM
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