Concerns over infections that cannot be treated with the current antibiotics available are mounting as Nevada woman loses her life.
It may seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but a recent death of a Nevada woman from infection by a superbug, one resistant to all known antibiotics, has many doctors worried about the spread of such infections.
This particular case involves a woman in her 70s, according to foxnews.com, who contracted the infection while traveling in India, and suffering a broken leg. Upon her return to the US, she checked into a Reno hospital, where it was discovered she was infected with Klebsiella pneumoniae, a carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE.
CRE is the common name for a bacteria that has become resistant to carbapenems, the go-to antibiotic when all others fail. Carbapenems are known as the last line of defense for antibiotic treatment.
The Reno hospital tested the woman for 14 drugs, all they had available, and found the infection had resistance to all of them. The doctors sent a sample to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta for additional testing, but the CDC soon realized they had no medication that would cure this type of infection.
The Nevada woman was kept in isolation to prevent the spread of the bug, and thus far, no other infections have been found.
But doctors say this case should be sending up a giant red flag over the development of new infections that can’t be controlled by the antibiotics currently available. Experts issued an alarming report last year that cautioned by the year 2050, as many as 10 million people could be killed each year by superbugs, if we cannot get them under control.
“I think this is the harbinger of future badness to come,” offered Dr. James Johnson, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota. ““It’s possible that this is the only person in the US and she had the bad luck to go to India, pick up the bad bug, come back and here it is, we found her and now that she’s dead, it’s gone from the US. That is highly improbable,” he continued.
Lance Price, head of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, also warned, “If we’re waiting for some sort of major signal that we need to attack this internationally, we need an aggressive program, both domestically and internationally to attack this problem, here’s one more signal that we need to do that.”