For more than a decade, doctors and scientists have warned that evolving bacteria could soon lead to "superbug" germs resistant to all current antibiotics, ushering in a new era of medicine in the United States - and beyond.
A Pennsylvania woman is the first in the country to come down with a "nightmare" bacteria that is resistant to last-resort antibiotics, according to researchers, who documented the case in a study published by Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
Defense Department researchers determined that she carried a strain of E. coli resistant to the antibiotic colistin.
However, colistin has been brought back as a treatment of last resort in hospitals and clinics as bacteria have started developing resistance to other, more modern drugs.
Tests confirming the woman's infection were done by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center researchers, who reported on the case. Another bacteria with the same gene was found in a pig intestinal sample.
"The recent discovery of a plasmid-borne colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, heralds the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria", the doctors wrote. Officials have determined the woman has not traveled outside of the United States in the last five months.
"The more we look at drug resistance, the more concerned we are", said Dr. Tom Frieden, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It is the end of the road for antibiotics, unless we act urgently", said Dr. Frieden.
United Kingdom health officials have repeatedly warned of the threat of antibiotic resistance and are urging Global Positioning System not to prescribe antibiotics unless necessary.
"The work also highlights the promiscuity of bacteria, which are able to quickly and easily share resistance mechanisms between species". LSU Health Shreveport takes precautions to stop spreading resistant bacteria.
The single, leading factor in the creation of superbugs is misuse of antibiotics, either taking them when you don't need them or not finishing the antibiotic regimen prescribed by the doctor.