An American woman who picked up an infection during a long stay in India, was reported to have died in a Reno, Nevada, hospital recently.
While that in itself may be tragic though not especially newsworthy, what you're about to read most certainly is....
The woman's infection was resistant to every single type of antibiotics available to doctors in the US, and has alarmed the Centre for Disease Control. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC referred to it as a "nightmare bacteria".
It is reported that the woman, said to be in her 70s, had broken her femur while staying in India and had been treated for it at a local hospital. She developed post-surgery infections in both her reset femur and her hip and required multiple visits to hospitals in the South Asian country.
She returned to the US in 2016 and was admitted to hospital in Reno after she was diagnosed with a Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infection. The bacteria (in this case Klebsiella pneumonia) that causes the infection is resistant to the carbapenem class of antibiotics, which is used to treat multi-drug resistant infections, and are often considered a last resort.
The bacteria has a mortality rate of 50% if it reaches the patient's bloodstream.
When a sample of the bacteria was tested at the Reno hospital it was found to be resistant to 14 antibiotics – the hospital's entire arsenal. Further samples were then sent to the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, where it was found to be resistant to every drug US doctors had access to.
The patient was eventually treated in quarantine, where she succumbed to the infection.
Over the past few decades, doctors and epidemiologists have warned against the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, across the globe.
According to the CDC's own data, there are at least two million superbug infections every year, which eventually claim the lives of an estimated 23,000 people.
In fact the situation has become so dire that in 2015, the White House released 'The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria', a comprehensive roadmap to fighting superbug infection in the US.
It is estimated that the superbug infections cost the US over $20 billion in health care costs, and could account for over 10 million deaths worldwide by 2050 if left unchecked.