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Colistin is the antibiotic that doctors use as a last resort to wipe out dangerous bacteria.
“It’s really been kept as the last drug in the locker when all else has failed,” says Dr. Jim Spencer, a senior lecturer in microbiology at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.
But now Spencer reports that E. coli bacteria, which can cause kidney failure as well as urinary tract and other infections, have changed. In an article published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, Spencer and his co-authors tell how researchers in China have found that the bacteria not only are increasingly resistant to colistin, but have developed a mechanism to transfer resistance to neighboring bacteria. And those bacteria don’t even have to be the same strain as those that originally developed the resistance. So bacteria that cause other health problems could be affected.
The prospect of colistin resistance spreading on a large scale is worrying, says Spencer, because there aren’t any good alternatives.
Spencer and his colleagues found the resistant E. coli bacteria in pork, pigs and people in China.
Public health officials have been warning about the impending “post-antibiotic era” for years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that annually 2 million Americans are infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and more than 20,000 die from those infections. Each year the world’s arsenal of antibiotics loses a bit more of its strength as bacteria mutate and develop resistance.
Read full, original post: E. Coli Bacteria Can Transfer Antibiotic Resistance To Other Bacteria