A rare antibiotic-resistant superbacterium is spreading across the US

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An antibiotic-resistant super-bacterium is progressing rapidly across the United States and is worrying the authorities.

More than 200 antibiotic-resistant genes have been found in a “nightmarish” super-bacteria in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday.

According to the CDC, 27 US states are already dealing with this “nightmarish” super-bacteria.

“I was surprised by the number we found,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Senior Director of the CDC, in an interview with CNN. The actual number of antibiotic-resistant genes is surely higher because the CDC has tested only certain laboratories in each of the US states.

The researchers tested 5776 isolates of antibiotic-resistant germs in hospitals and residences for the elderly. While one in four isolates had a gene that helped extend their resistance, 221 isolates contained a “particularly rare resistance gene.”

These rare genes are more prevalent in hospitals and homes for the elderly, where patients are often intravenous or connected to tubes that may be infected.

According to Dr. Schuchat, two million Americans contract infections due to antibiotic resistance and 23,000 die each year.

As this is the first year that the CDC has tested for rare genes, it does not have any previous data on this super-bacterium.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hope, however, that these numbers will not be “the beginning of an inevitable upward march”.

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Carl Frantz

Polyglot, humanitarian, Carl was born in Germany but raised in the USA. He writes mostly on tech, science and culture.