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Super Bacteria Resistant To All Antibiotics Found In UK

Update Date: Dec 23, 2015 01:40 AM EST

In the U.K., bacteria resistant to colistin, which is considered to be the "last line of antibiotics", has been detected.

"Our assessment is that the public health risk posed by this gene is currently considered very low," said Alan Johnson, head of the Department of Healthcare Associated Infection and Antibiotic Resistance at Public Health England to the Daily Mail,

He added that the situation is being reviewed.

Among the opponents, Dr. David Brown, director of Antibiotic Research U.K., said that it is "almost too late" to avoid a global crisis not involving "antibiotic-resistant bacteria", due to the misuse of antibiotics in agriculture.

"We needed to start research 10 years ago and we still have no global monitoring system in place," Brown said. "The issue is people have tried to find new antibiotics, but it is totally failing -- there has been no new chemical class of drug to treat gram-negative infections for more than 40 years."

Last month the Chinese researchers said that they had detected a gene making bacteria resistant to colistin, the antibiotic drug used after all other antibiotics failed.

It is due to the mcr-1 gene that bacteria become resistant to colistin. It is passed easily from one species of bacteria to the next.

Researchers felt that after three years the superbugs would spread to U.K.

Samples were collected from 2012 to 2015 in the U.K. testing was conducted for colistin-resistant bacteria by the Public Health England and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. It was found that 15 out of 24,000 bacterial samples had the mcr-1 gene.

The mcr-1 gene was found also in Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Malaysia and other Asian countries.

In the U.K., it was identified in salmonella infecting 10 people and in E. coli infecting two. It was also discovered in bacterial samples that were gathered from three pig farms as well as from imported chicken meat.

Antibiotics should be reduced in agriculture, says Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer in Britain.

'If we don't act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can't be treated by antibiotics," Davies said. "And routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection."

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