That’s why scientists are concerned: these pieces of DNA called plasmids can be exchanged between bacteria, passing it on to different bugs and creating new virulent strains that could prove deadly and impossible to treat.

Georgiou says, eventually, bacteria will always become resistant to antibiotics.

Mcr-1 caused a public health panic in China past year, when it was found in both livestock and people. The bacteria has also been found in Europe and Canada.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of mcr-1 in the US”. It was only a matter of time before colistin resistance turned up in the US.

Every year 700,000 people die because of superbugs around the world, according to the most recent United Kingdom sponsored report on antimicrobial resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today, according to the World Health Organization. If antibiotic resistance has been known for years, why the urgency now?

Active surveillance of multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs), such as mcr-1, allows for earlier and more accurate identification of originating sources.

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