NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Alarming news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: A superbug has been discovered in the United States that's resistant to even the last-resort antibiotic that doctors use to treat it.
"The medicine cabinet is empty for some patients. It is the end of the road for antibiotics unless we act urgently," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. "The Department of Defense released information about a woman with no travel outside the U.S. who is the first documented human case in the United States of having a urinary tract infection or any infection with an organism resistant to every antibiotic."
Frieden calls it a "nightmare bacteria." It's also known as CRE. E-Coli is one example of it and according to the CDC's website, antibiotic resistant infections are difficult to treat and can be deadly in up to 50 percent of cases.
Tulane infectious disease physician Dr. Nicholas Van Sickels said the news highlights what the medical community has been worried about for years now, that the over-prescribing and taking of antibiotics can have dangerous consequences.
"We've now seen that the bacteria can be resistant to everything we have. We knew this was probably going to happen, and I think you need to raise the public health alarm even more and alert the population. You know, be empowered. The medical community needs to be aware of it, but the people need to be aware of it too, like, 'maybe I don't need an antibiotic.' Ask your doctor, 'do I need an antibiotic for this?do I really need to take it?'" said Van Sickels.
Frieden said the more they look at drug resistance, the more concerned they are.
"We need to do a very comprehensive job protecting antibiotics so that we can have them and our children can have them. We need to make new antibiotics, but unless we have better stewardship and better identification of outbreaks, we will lose these miracle drugs,"said Frieden.
Van Sickels said doctors can treat patients with antibiotic-resistant infections. But he said the problem with that is that it includes treatments that have not been studied very well and combining drugs that may have only been in small studies that they don't have great data on. Van Sickels said that can lead to longer hospital stays and adverse outcomes.