Study: E. Coli Can Transfer Antibiotic Resistance to Other Bacteria

November 21, 2015

Scientists have discovered a gene in E. coli that makes it resistant to a class of “last-resort” antibiotics known as polymyxins. The gene can also transfer resistance to other epidemic pathogens such as K. pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

According to research published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the mcr-1 gene is widespread in Enterobacteriaceae samples from pigs in south China.

During routine testing of food animals for antimicrobial resistance in China, the researchers isolated E. coli strain SHP45 from a pig on a farm in Shanghai that showed resistance to a polymyxin antibiotic called colistin that could be transferred to another strain.