Health

Unusual forms of ‘nightmare’ antibiotic-resistant bacteria detected in 27 states

More than 200 rare antibiotic-resistant genes were found in “nightmare” bacteria tested in 2017, according to a Vital Signs report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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A variety of resistant germs can be found in every state. Two million Americans get infections from antibiotic resistance, and 23,000 die from those infections each year.

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Testing 5,776 isolates of antibiotic-resistant germs from hospitals and nursing homes, the CDC found that about one in four had a gene that helped spread its resistance, while 221 contained an “especially rare resistance gene.”

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During follow up screening, nearly one in every 10 contacts also tested positive, “meaning the unusual resistance had spread to other patients and could have continued spreading if left undetected.”

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The 221 rare genes were found in isolates gathered in 27 states from infection samples that included pneumonia, bloodstream infections and urinary tract infections.

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So what can we do to prevent these bacteria from spreading? Each of us can help limit antibiotic resistance by keeping our hands clean, disinfecting cuts and talking to health care providers about preventing infections through vaccines and other measures.

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