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Rutgers & Columbia Researchers Discover New Strain of Multi-drug Resistant E. coli

SEP 21, 2016 | EINAV KEET
Around the world, researchers studying antibiotic-resistant bacteria are working to understand these pathogens as quickly as the germs are adapting. In that effort, a team of scientists recently discovered a new strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) believed to be the first in the United States with resistance to two kinds of antibiotics considered to be last resort weapons to prevent dangerous infections.
In their research paper, published in The American Society for Microbiology’s journal, mBio, the group of Rutgers University and Columbia University researchers detail the case of an E. coli strain found in samples taken from a 76-year-old male hospital patient in 2014. The authors explain prior findings on a plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene called mcr-1, which scientists had previously discovered in samples in China and other parts of the world, but which had never appeared in the United States. Of concern to researchers has been the potential discovery of mcr-1 appearing in US samples, as well as the spread of the gene into Enterobacteriaceae with the carbapenem-resistance gene blaNDM-5. In this case, say the authors, they’ve discovered the occurrence of both in a strain of E. coli approaching pan-resistance.
In an exclusive interview with Contagion, study author Barry Kreiswirth, PhD, of the Public Health Research Institute Center at Rutgers University, discussed the significance of these new findings.

Urine cultures obtained from the patient’s sample showed the presence of multiple bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Citrobacter koseri, Enterococcus faecium, P. aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Enterococcus spp., methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and E. coli. After conducting drug susceptibility tests on the isolated strains, the researchers discovered that the E. coli isolate present in the sample exhibited resistance to colistin as well as all beta lactams, including carbapenems.

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