Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fourth Person in US Diagnosed with Bacteria Resistant to a Last Resort Antibiotic

The latest case is a 2-year-old Connecticut girl who was diagnosed earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

She and three other Americans have been found to have E. coli bacteria that were resistant to an important medicine called colistin. Colistin is an old, powerful drug with significant side effects that is reserved for germs that already resist other important antibiotics.

Health officials have worried that the colistin-resistant bacteria will spread their special trait to bacteria already resistant to other medicines, setting the stage for true superbug infections that are impervious to all known antibiotics.

For example, researchers reported last week a worrisome case of a 76-year-old man treated in 2014 at a New Jersey hospital. In follow-up testing this year, he was found to have been infected by a germ that was resistant to both colistin and another class of antibiotics called carbapenems that are also reserved to treat especially tough bugs.

It was the first time this kind of double-resistance was reported in the U.S., though several other cases have been reported elsewhere in the world.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Tests Confirm Mosquitoes in Miami Beach Are Carrying Zika Virus

WASHINGTON — Florida announced on Thursday that for the first time mosquitoes in Miami Beach had tested positive for the Zika virus, a disappointing confirmation that the virus was still active in the area.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads Zika is famously difficult to fight, and experts often say that testing the bugs to find the virus is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The three samples that tested positive all came from a 1.5-square-mile area in Miami Beach where locally acquired cases of Zika had been confirmed.

The significance of the results depends on where the mosquitoes were collected, said Scott C. Weaver, the director of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch. If they are from in or around the houses of people with active infections, the chances of the bugs being infected are higher. If the virus was found in mosquitoes in a more distant location, that could point to a bigger infection area than previously thought.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said state law prevented the disclosure of the traps’ location.

The department said in a statement that since May it had tested more than 2,470 mosquito samples, consisting of more than 40,000 mosquitoes. The three samples that the department announced on Thursday were the first to test positive.

Zika has mild symptoms — rashes and joint pain — for most people, but it can cause severe brain damage in fetuses of pregnant women who are infected. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are tracking more than 1,500 pregnant women who have been infected with Zika. So far at least 16 babies have been born with birth defects.

Florida is the only place in the continental United States where Zika is actively circulating, but the virus is spreading.

The first cluster of cases was in a Miami neighborhood called Wynwood. The outbreak in that area seems to have subsided, but health officials discovered a new cluster in Miami Beach on Aug. 18, and the C.D.C. warned pregnant women not travel there.