CDC: Superbug shows concerning mutation
The superbug that infected nearly a dozen Americans who recently underwent weight-loss surgery at a Tijuana hospital had a particularly nasty genetic mutation that set off alarm bells after patients began showing up in hospitals and doctors officers with painful wounds.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel warning this week, notifying the public that 11 Americans who traveled to Tijuana hospitals for weight-loss surgery had become infected with drug-resistant pseudomonus aeruginosa infections during their stays.
Dr. David “Cal” Ham, a CDC medical officer, said Friday that the particular strain of pseudomonus bacteria involved in 11 confirmed cases had metallo-beta lactamase genes. Often called “VIM” by the epidemiological community, Ham explained that these genes cause the microbes that carry them to excrete enzymes that destroy carbapenems, a workhorse class of antibiotics with some of the broadest efficacy in medicine.
The pseudomonus strains that caused the Tijuana outbreak were already drug resistant, Ham said. Picking up carbapenem-fighting chops made an already serious threat more deadly.