by J. D. Heyes, Natural News:
Several medical researchers and scientists have been warning frequently in recent years that the so-called “superbugs” are proliferating across the world faster than modern medicine can stamp them out, due in large part to massive overuse of antibiotics.
Well, another one has been discovered by researchers: a superbug described as very rare and frightening, and of all places, on a pig farm.
As reported by NBC News, the discovery may mean that raw meat could transfer the dangerous superbugs to humans through consumption.
Researchers said they did not find any pigs that are scheduled to be slaughtered carrying the mutant gene, and they could find no sick pigs. Also, they have not yet found any threat to humans at present. All that said, the researchers noted that the mutant should not have been on the farm in the first place, adding that they had no clue how the superbug got there.
“It is an extremely rare gene. How it got on this farm, we don’t know,” Thomas Wittum, head of the veterinary medicine team at The Ohio State University—who led the study team—told NBC News.
The gene is called bla IMP-27; it allows bacteria to resist the effects of a certain class of antibiotics called carbapenems, considered a last resort antibiotic, meaning germs that can resist the class are extremely difficult to kill.
What’s worse, researchers noted, the superbug gene is transported on small bit of genetic material called a plasmid, which is easily exchanged. Researchers said they found the material in a number of different species of bacteria on the farm. That tells them the bacteria have been passing the gene around.
Scientists are concerned that the gene will penetrate bacteria that can infect human beings. One type of antibiotic-resistant germ called carbapanem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, can be very dangerous. If they infiltrate the bloodstream and cause an infection, half of victims die from CRE germs.
This past summer, scientists warned about a drug-resistant E. coli sample that was found to be carrying a gene known as mcr-1. In addition, the gene was also found on a plasmid, leading to fears that an E. coli bacteria with the mcr-1 gene may pass it along to another superbug with additional mutations, which would then create a truly super superbug that would be able to resist all antibiotics.
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