TOM PHILPOTT – UTIs Are Horrible and Soon There Will Be No Drugs That Can Help You

A superbug that can shake off a last-ditch antibiotic called colistin has been alarming the global health community since 2015. It first turned up in hogs on a Chinese farm and has since been found in 30 other countries, including the United States. According to a new paper by Rutgers and Columbia University researchers, colistin-resistant E. coli has been here since August 2014 at the latest—and the particular strain they found is also resistant to another family of last-resort antibiotics, carbapenems.

To learn more about the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the research team took a fresh look at old samples of E. colitaken from patients at a New Jersey hospital. The worrisome strain appeared in a urine sample taken in 2014 from a 76-year-old man with a urinary tract infection. At the time, the case was fairly routine—the man’s UTI was cured by common antibiotics. But when the researchers re-analyzed the sample this year, they found the E. coli in it could withstand both colistin and carbapenems—the first bacteria identified in the United States with resistance to both drugs.

Read more