E. coli resistant to last-resort antibiotic found in California for first time

Los Angeles County has identified the first instance of an E. coli strain with the mcr-1 gene, which makes it resistant to colistin — known as the antibiotic of last resort — for the first time the state of California, according to a health alert from the county public health department.

This is the sixth time an E. coli isolate with the mcr-1 gene has been identified in the U.S. Its first U.S. appearance was in Pennsylvania in April 2016.

Los Angeles public health officials believe the E. coli infection was acquired during international travel, and they do not believe it has spread in the healthcare environment.

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"The appearance of mcr-1 in Los Angeles serves as a reminder of the importance of infection control measures and antibiotic stewardship," the LA County health alert says.

The health alert urges hospital-based healthcare providers to follow Standard and Contact Precautions for patients with suspected or confirmed colonization or infection with bacteria that are mcr-1 positive.

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