Doctor raises the alarm: "We can deal with untreatable bacteria."
A deadly bacterium, which can make even simple inflammations dangerous to life, has cropped up in Europe. An expert calls the situation "very worrying."
Bacteria with a new gene that makes them potentially resistant to all antibiotics have been found in someone in Denmark.
Without antibiotics, these bacteria have free rein, and ultimately even a simple infection can be fatal.
Experts speak of a worrying development.
"In the long term, we may be confronted with bacteria that cannot be treated," said the doctor Robert Leo Skov, the head of bacteriology at the Danish SSI, a state institute for health care research. He continues:
'A urinary tract infection can spread to the blood. And you can die without antibiotics. "
The deadly bacteria now found in Europe originate from China.
Bacteria spread deadly gene
The new 'killer bacteria' have been discovered by a Chinese research team led by professor Jian-Hua Liu. The scientists have recently published the results of their research in the leading journal The Lancet.
The mcr-1 gene makes the bacteria resistant to the antibiotic polymyxin. This medicine is only used with dangerous bacteria that are resistant to other types of antibiotics.
If you become infected with the bacteria, the doctors are therefore powerless.
The gene is located in so-called plasmids, which makes it extra dangerous. Plasmids are in fact a kind of mobile DNA that the bacteria can easily copy and transfer to other bacteria.
The team already has evidence that the gene has been transferred from e. Coli - responsible for urinary tract infections among other things - to Klebsiella bacteria, which cause pneumonia.
One in five animals carries deadly bacteria
Between 2011 and 2014, Chinese scientists took bacterial samples from pigs from different provinces, and from pork and chicken meat from 30 markets and 27 supermarkets in Guangzhou province.
Of the 804 animals, 166 (21%) were infected with bacteria with the mcr-1 gene, while 78 (15%) of the 523 meat samples contained the bacteria.
The researchers also analyzed bacteria from 1322 patients with inflammation in two hospitals. 16 of them, just over 1%, carried the deadly bacteria. And the number of cases of infection increased every year.