Friday, September 17, 2010

New "KPC" superbugs have resistance against "last chance" antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is rapidly becoming a major public health problem, if one judges from a USA Today article Sept. 17 by Steve Sternberg, “Germ beats ‘last resort’ antibiotics; Bug hits hospitals in USA and spreads overseas”, link here. The online headline says a new strain has hit 20 states, especially New York and New Jersey.

The resistant bacteria carry a gene that enables them to produce an enzyme, KPC, or Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenamase, that disables a major group of “last best chance” antibiotics.

There is another so-far rare bug from India, NDM-1, but KPC’s are rapidly becoming a problem. It’s hard to control without the strictest infection control procedures, at least in hospitals.

Some drugs are coming onto the market to fight MRSA, which gets a lot of attention in the media and is passed around in contact sports. But less work is being done now with novel bacteria. The only medication that works may be polymixin, which is very toxic to kidneys.

Here is the CDC reference link.

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