The E. coli strain ST131 is severely drug resistant and causing major concern. Now being referred to as “the new superbug”, ST131 has been found in cases all over the world and all over the United States. It has been said to pose a serious threat to public health. In researching the strain, scientists isolated aspects that accounted for the bug to be resistant to the antibiotics fluoroquinolone and cephalosporin. Scientists studied patients afflicted with E. coli in 2007, totaling about 127 people. Fifty four of them had the ST131 strain. Samples taken showed forty four percent had the drug resistant isolates. According to Dr. James Johnson of the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, “If this strain gains one additional resistance gene, it will become almost untreatable and will be a true superbug, which is a very concerning scenario”.
Other strains have been treatable by antibiotics, although not without causing infection first. Those not as treatable have not been as effective in causing disease unlike ST131. E coli is traditionally submitted by eating undercooked foods and coming into contact with the feces of infected animals. A study done in 2008 by Johnson and other medical professionals has shown evidence of ST131 in dog urine, however, showing host-to-host transmission. The study concluded that ST131 is found in common household pets. The initial source is not yet known.
E. coli, or Escherichia coli, is a common cause of extra intestinal infections. Newer mutations, such as clonal group ST131 have become increasingly harder to treat. Common symptoms are stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Symptoms of a severe infection include urinary tract infections and pneumonia. It has also been said that E. coliST131 may pose a threat to an renal transplant recipients because of its drug resistance. “If we could notice the sources of this push, the broadcasting pathways that add it to spread so effectively, and the factors that maintain led to its fleet materialization, we could get back ways to meddle and by any means tortoise-like or curb this strain’s manifestation,” said Johnson, MD. Until the threat subsides, doctors recommend doing what you can to prevent E coli infection, such as properly cooking your food, clean cooking utensils thoroughly and washing your hands before and after contact with animals. Also, practice meticulous personal hygiene, don’t drink non-chlorinated water and keep a safe distance from anyone known to be infected.
Reuters, “Drug-resistant strain of E. coli emerges in U.S”, MSNBC.com
James R. Johnson, Brian Johnston, Connie Clabots,Michael A. Kuskowski,Swaroop Pendyala,Chitrita DebRoy,
Bogdan Nowicki, James Rice, “Escherichia coli Sequence Type ST131 as an Emerging Fluoroquinolone-
Resistant Uropathogen among Renal Transplant Recipients”, American Society for Microbiology
James R. Johnson, Sybille Miller, Brian Johnston, Connie Clabots, Chitrita DebRoy, “Sharing of Escherichia coli Sequence Type ST131 and Other Multidrug-Resistant and Urovirulent E. coli Strains among Dogs and Cats within a Household”, American Society for Microbiology
About E-coli.com Staff, “Preventing E-Coli Infection”, About E-coli.com