A woman died from a superbug that beat all 26 antibiotics available in the United States

A culture of Klebsiella pneumoniaeLarry Mulvehill/Getty

❝ If you had any doubts about the “nightmare” and “catastrophic threat” of antimicrobial resistance, take a look at this new field report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nevada public health officials tell the story of a Washoe County resident who appeared at a Reno hospital in August 2016 with sepsis. Doctors found out that she was infected with a type of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, superbug called Klebsiella pneumoniae and quickly put her in isolation. Tests showed that the bacterium, which spread throughout her body, was resistant to 26 different antibiotics — or every antibiotic available in the US.

In early September, the woman, who was in her 70s, developed septic shock and died.

❝ What makes this case particularly alarming is that the infection probably didn’t originate in the US. The woman had spent significant amounts of time in India, and while there, was hospitalized on several occasions over two years for a femur fracture and later, bone infections.

India has a major superbug issue, particularly in its hospitals. The authors of the report suggest the patient may have picked up her infection while in hospital there…

❝ This is a frightening story of a deadly bacterium doctors couldn’t control — and the real limits of our antibiotic arsenal. But it’s also a reminder of how tricky the superbug problem will be to solve without a lot of international collaboration.

RTFA, especially if you think the GOUSA can solve all its own problems alone. Mobility, communications, ease of travel compared to what was available a half-century ago, all mean little to someone who thinks the world begins and ends at their county line.

The rest of us have to be concerned with staying alive.

4 thoughts on “A woman died from a superbug that beat all 26 antibiotics available in the United States

  1. News item says:

    A study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, describes a new treatment pathway for antibiotic resistant bacteria and infectious diseases with benefits for patients and health care providers.
    Researchers from the University of Birmingham and Newcastle University found that the unusual approach of removing antibodies from the blood stream reduced the effects of chronic infections, the requirement for days spent in hospital and the use of antibiotics.

  2. Cassandra says:

    “Genes associated with antibiotic-resistant superbugs have been discovered in the high Arctic, one of the most remote places on earth, showing the rapid spread and global nature of the resistance problem. The genes were first identified in a hospital patient in India in 2007-8, then in surface waters in Delhi in 2010, probably carried there by sewage, and are now confirmed in soil samples from Svalbard in the Arctic circle, in a paper in the journal Environment International.” (Guardian UK 1/28/19) https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/28/genes-linked-to-antibiotic-resistant-superbugs-found-in-arctic
    “Fight Against Superbugs Crucial to America’s Biodefense : How the U.S. is countering the national security threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria” (Pew Charitable Trust February 1, 2019) https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2019/02/01/fight-against-superbugs-crucial-to-americas-biodefense See also “What Is Antibiotic Stewardship—and How Does It Work? Effective programs needed to improve patient care, protect the public from superbugs (February 14, 2019) https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2019/02/14/what-is-antibiotic-stewardship-and-how-does-it-work
    “New estimates aim to define the true burden of superbug infections” (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota 2/11/19) http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2019/02/new-estimates-aim-define-true-burden-superbug-infections
    BBC News (24 Jan, 2019): “Antibiotic resistance plan to fight ‘urgent’ global threat” https://www.bbc.com/news/health-46973641

  3. Doc says:

    A resistant superbug fungus that can kill people within 90 days is creeping into countries across the globe, with more than 587 cases confirmed in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control. https://nypost.com/2019/04/06/cdc-sounds-alarm-on-resistant-superbug-fungus-after-nyc-outbreak/ The CDC recently added the Candida Auris fungus to a list of now-three “urgent” antibiotic-resistant threats after an investigation into outbreaks at New York City hospitals.
    CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/candida-auris-qanda.html

  4. Update says:

    FDA Will Require Veterinary Oversight for All Animal Antibiotics Important to Human Medicine
    Recently approved guidance says such antibiotics will not be available over the counter as of mid-2023 https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2021/07/13/fda-will-require-veterinary-oversight-for-all-animal-antibiotics-important-to-human-medicine
    ‘Silent Pandemic’ Threatens to Turn Back Century of Medical Progress
    Antimicrobial resistance could ‘undermine … care as we know it,’ a leading infectious disease doctor says.

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