Scientists Find Bacteria That is Resistant to ‘Last Resort’ Antibiotic

Tigecycline is the antibiotic that is used as a last resort when no other antibiotic is effective. However, this will not be able to be the case any more as a group of Spanish investigators have found that there is a bacteria that has become resistant to this ’emergency’ antibiotic – the bacteria resides in hospitals and has been found to be adapted to living on dogs.


“This is extremely important for public health” said Bruno Gonzalez-Zorn, DVM, PhD, professor of microbiology at the Veterinary School and Health Surveillance Center, VISAVET, Complutense University, Madrid, Spain, due to the bacteria – Klebsiella pneumoniae – being repeatedly exposed in hospitals through hospital-acquired pneumonia bloodstream, wound and surgical site infections, and meningitis. This study was a shock to the researchers who did not expect that the last fully effective antibiotic exclusively used in hospitals only to have become  human-pathogen resistant.

The finding is very important as it now leaves the possibility for dog-owners and other in close contact to dogs to get infected with the Tigecycline-resistant pathogen from the hospital, thus making the last resort antibiotic vulnerable. The researchers now hope to find out which hospital is the centre of the spread of the Tigecycline-resistant pathogen through genome sequencing (‘figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome’).

As a means of reducing the effect of the new discovery, the research team said this:

“Treatment of pet animals with antibiotics should be done with care, and minimized, the same as with humans and food animals.”

As I have already mentioned in previous blogs, the problem of antibiotic resistance is become more and more of a serious problem. Now that pathogens have become resistant to the ‘last hope’ of antibiotics, the search is heavily on to find and produce new antibiotics as soon as possible.

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