Federal health authorities have revealed that a toddler in Connecticut was found to have an antibiotic-resistant strain of E.coli, the fourth case identified in the United States.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on Friday that the E.coli strain called MCR-1 was discovered in a 2-year-old child who may have been exposed to the superbug during a recent trip. The girl got sick with fever and suffered from diarrhea while traveling in the Caribbean.
Although the strain discovered in the child was resistant to colistin, a last resort antibiotic for drug-resistant bacteria, it was not resistant to all antibiotics. The girl fully recovered after she was treated with the antibiotic paromomycin.
"The patient took paromomycin, an aminoglycoside antibiotic, from symptom onset until a pediatric outpatient visit on June 16, at which time a stool specimen was collected," the CDC report read. "The patient was not hospitalized and, in addition to the primary care visit, had one brief emergency department visit during the illness."
The bacteria did not also spread to anyone else, including those who are in close contact with the patient, but officials said they expect more cases to emerge in the country and recommended for improved surveillance for bacteria that are resistant to colistin.
Health experts said that food has been the most common way that superbug is acquired in other places, and the case in Connecticut is also potentially caused by food.
During her two-week travel visiting friends and relatives in the Caribbean, the girl ate chicken and goat meat from a live animal market. She later developed fever and bloody diarrhea two days before returning to the United States.
Antibiotic resistance has become a global concern. Health experts are now worried that surgical and even routine medical procedures could become deadly in the future because of risks of infection posed by superbugs.
New data reveal that many patients in the United States get infected with drug-resistant bacteria in health care settings, but CDC said that health care workers can help protect patients.
"Doctors and healthcare facilities have the power to protect patients — no one should get sick while trying to get well," said CDC Director Tom Frieden.
Researchers are now on the lookout for ways that could address the problem. In a 2014 study, a group of researchers has found a way to disable the defense system of drug-resistant bacteria, which could possibly lead to the development of drugs that can effectively kill superbugs.