A two-year-old child in Connecticut has been found to have an antibiotic-resistant strain of E. coli — the fourth to be found in the United States.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced Friday that the E. coli strain, called mcr-1, was found in a two-year-old girl who’d traveled to the Caribbean, and researchers said they expect to see more cases of the drug-resistant bug pop up in the United States.
While the strain the girl had was resistant to colistin, the antibiotic of last resort for antibiotic-resistant bugs, it was not resistant to all antibiotics and she fully recovered after being treated with the antibiotic paromomycin.
An antibiotic-resistant gene in E. coli O157, mcr-1, was first detected last November in a pig in China, with a second gene, mcr-2, found in a pig in Europe in July.
The first two cases in the United States, in Pennsylvania and New York, had been discovered long before they were reported and scientists were unsure how they had acquired it. The third was detected in samples from a 74-year-old New Jersey man dating to August 2014.
CDC researchers said the case in Connecticut “points to a food-borne acquisition as the most probable cause” for the two-year-old acquiring the bug, reporting she was in the Caribbean for two to three weeks and consumed chicken and goat meat from a live animal market there. The girl developed fever and bloody diarrhea two days before returning to the United States.
“We know this is food-borne, and we know from outbreaks in other countries that’s how most people get it,” Alexander Kallen, an antibiotic resistance researcher at the CDC, told The Washington Post.
There is no evidence the four human cases of mcr-1 detected in the United States are related, but researchers say they expect to see more cases of the bug.