The Summer of Superbugs Is Upon Us

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Photo: Matc

Today in news that will make you want to stay inside: Scientists have determined that a person living in New York State was infected with drug-resistant E. coli bacteria. This is the second time the superbug has been found in the United States.

Researchers found this strain last year in both people and pigs in China and were concerned that it might spread because it doesn’t respond to the “last-resort” antibiotic colistin.

Scientists in Iowa discovered this case after analyzing samples taken from hospitals around the world. Only one sample came from the United States and it was resistant to the drug. News of the first U.S. case, found in a Pennsylvania woman who presented with a UTI, came right before Memorial Day Weekend.

Reuters reports that in both cases the bacteria was susceptible to other antibiotics, which made the infections treatable (though the patients’ names and conditions have not been disclosed).

It’s worrying overall because, as bacteria become resistant to other, more common drugs, we could reach “the end of the road” for antibiotics. More than 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year and at least 23,000 people die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Let’s all agree to stop running to the doctor for antibiotics when we probably don’t need them.