A new Danish study, by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark and the Statens Serum Institut, has reported the discovery of bacteria containing the mcr-1 gene, which confers resistance to the antibiotic colistin, in imported food samples.
The researchers carried out the study in response to recent findings from China identifying the mcr-1 gene as a plasmid mediated colistin-resistance mechanism in E. coli isolated from pigs, broiler meat and humans. Colistin is a polymyxin type antibiotic often regarded as a treatment of last resort for multi-resistant infections in humans.
The Danish study used computerised technology to quickly scan the previously mapped genomes of approximately 3,000 bacteria isolated in Denmark to see if any of them contained the newly characterised mcr-1 gene. They found the gene in five food samples imported between 2012 and 2014 and in the blood of a patient suffering from an infection contracted in 2015. All the mcr-1 positive bacteria were multi-resistant ESBL strains, making human infections very difficult to treat.
More information about the Danish study can be found here.