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Second gene discovered that makes bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotic

Accreditation Insider, July 12, 2016

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Scientists in Europe have discovered a new colistin-resistant gene, mcr-2, in the intestines of Belgian pigs. Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic that is only used when an infection proves resistant to all other forms of antibiotics. Mcr-2 is the second colistin-resistant gene discovered this year and is able to share said resistance to other bacteria.

In fact, researchers say that mcr-2 is able to transfer its resistance more easily than mcr-1, the first colistin-resistant gene uncovered. When combined with other forms of sharable antibiotic-resistance, these genes could result in the first infection that’s completely invulnerable to all forms of antibiotics.

The Joint Commission recently announced a new standard that will require antibiotic stewardship programs (ASP) for accredited facilities by 2017.  In addition, a bill was recently approved by the House of Representatives that will make ASPs mandatory for CMS compliance if passed by the Senate.

A Pennsylvania woman contracted the first case of colistin-resistance bacteria in the U.S. this April, though no one is sure how she came in contact with it.  The first signs of colistin-resistant genes were discovered in farm animals in China, where the antibiotic was given to livestock despite World Health Organization warnings. Two million Americans are infected annually infected by antimicrobial-resistant infections, with 23,000 people dying as a direct result of their infections.



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