Antibiotic resistant superbugs have been a hot topic in recent months, but until now all of the hard to treat infections were eventually cured by last resort drugs.
But recently, an elderly Nevada woman died after her infection proved to be no match for any antibiotics available in the United States.
The woman had just returned from a trip to India where she had broken her leg.
During her time abroad, her leg and hip kept becoming infected and she was treated in India.
When she came back to the United States she was admitted to a hospital to attempt to control the infection, but doctors couldn’t keep it at bay.
After trying a host of 26 antibiotics, she went into shock and passed away.
Doctors report that the unnamed woman was infected with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).
The specific type she had, Klebsiella pneumoniae, can lead to a number of complications and diseases including fatality.
Although the case occurred in September 2016, it has recently become known to the public due to the fact that Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) was published to the Centers for Disease Control’s website last week.
Doctors are now warning the public, and one another, that antibiotic resistance is real and is happening now.
Dr. James Johnson, a professor specializing in infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota Medical School, told CBS News of the case (which he was not affiliated with):
“This is not some future, fantasized armageddon threat that maybe will happen after our lifetime. This is now, it’s real, and it’s here.”
Though the woman’s story ended in tragedy, the team is pleased with how quickly they responded to her illness because if it spread, it could have become a major issue within the hospital.
“Had any of the other patients been infected with this, they would have had the same resistance. This is kind of scary stuff, and that’s why we jump on things like this very quickly. We were pleased that the hospital responded as quickly and comprehensively as they did.”
Doctors and scientists conclude that we need to be more judicious with antibiotics or risk an epidemic of resistance.