New Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Reach the United States

July 31, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. infection /ɪnˈfɛk ʃən/ (n.) – a state of having bacteria or viruses
Example: The patient contracted an infection last week.

2. resistant /rɪˈzɪst ant/ (adj.) – not allowing something or someone
Example: She is not getting better because her body is already resistant to the antibiotics.

3. rare /rɛər/ (adj.) – describes something not common or usual
Example: The result says that he incurred a rare disease.

4. antibiotic /ˌæn tɪ baɪˈɒt ɪk/ (n.) – a drug that can kill bacteria and can treat infections
Example: If he takes some antibiotics and lots of rest, he'll get better.

5. transportable /tran(t)s-ˈpȯr-tə-bəl/ (adj.) – can be carried or moved
Example: Researchers are developing a high-tech transportable surgical kit.


Read the text below.
The US Department of Defense has announced the first known case of infection caused by carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in the United States.

Escherichia coli, or more commonly known as E.coli, is a type of Enterobacteriaceae commonly found in the stomach. Some types of E.coli are harmless, while others can cause diseases like diarrhea and urinary tract infection.

While diseases caused by E.coli can be treated, the bacteria’s genes can mutate to become resistant to carbapenem, a type of antibiotic given in hospitals when most drugs fail. If the bacteria is still carbapenem-resistant, colistin is given as a last resort. Colistin is another antibiotic that doctors use when other antibiotics do not work. However, there are still some strains of bacteria, including CRE, that are still resistant to colistin. These bacteria have the colistin-resistant gene, and thus cause rare antibiotic-resistant infections.

In May, a woman from Pennsylvania was discovered to have the first colistin-resistant strain in the United States. The 49-year-old went to a clinic to get treated for a urinary tract infection, and while the symptoms of the infection were treated, her urine sample showed the presence of CRE bacteria.

In recent years, the CRE bacteria caused about 600 deaths annually. They usually strike patients in hospitals or nursing homes. However, they are transportable and can be picked up in places like animal feed lots and sewer systems.

In the 1940s, antibiotics were developed to cure infectious diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia. However, antibiotics became overused, and some bacteria started to develop ways of resisting them. According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health today.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What is the importance of being aware of antibiotic-resistant infections or bacteria?
·         Do you find the presence of antibiotic-resistant infections and bacteria alarming? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the dangers of not regulating antibiotic use?
In your country, how does the government regulate the use of antibiotics?

July 31, 2016