A Deadly Superbug

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A rare, drug-resistant super bug impervious to all 26 antibiotics available in the U.S. has claimed the life of a woman in Nevada. The patient, in her 70’s had been hospitalized with a broken leg in India, where drug-resistant bacteria are more common. She developed an infection in her blood, which turned out to be Klebsiella pneumonia, a type of gut bacteria from a family of super bugs. Back in the U.S., doctors found that the bacteria were resistant to all available antibiotics, even those usually reserved as a last resort for multi-drug resistant bacteria. Within two months, the woman had died of multiple organ failure and sepsis. Health officials say her death is a grim reminder that drug-resistant bacteria are evolving, and that common infections could one day become untreatable. “People keep asking me, ‘How close are we to going off the cliff?’” James Johnson, professor of infectious diseases medicine at the University of Minnesota, tells NPR.org. “Come on, people. We’re off the cliff. It’s already happening. People are dying.”

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