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CDC Finds 'Nightmare Bacteria' Across the U.S. Here's What That Means

From TIME - April 3, 2018

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a growing public health problem, as infections are becoming less responsive to the drugs used to treat them. Now, a new federal report reveals that United States health departments have identified 221 instances of bugs with unusual antibiotic resistant genes in strains of infections authorities call nightmare bacteria for their already high levels of resistance.

Nightmare bacteria either cant be killed by all or most antibiotics, are uncommon to the area in which theyre found, or have genes that make it possible for the germs to spread their resistance to other infections. The 221 instances of unusual resistance in nightmare bacteria were identified in 2017 by health departments nationwide working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network. The report was published Tuesday in the CDCs Vital Signs journal.

Experts are concerned because one in four of the infection samples sent to the CDCs lab for testing have genes that make it possible to spread their resistance to other bugs. The researchers also found that in health care facilities where a bug with unusual resistance was identified, about one in 10 people without symptoms who were screened had a resistant bug.

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