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CDC says Pennsylvania woman with MCR-1 is ‘fine’

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HARRISBURG, Pa - Doctors with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention are still trying to figure out how a Pennsylvania woman ended up with a gene that could lead to a so called "superbug."

Doctors found the MCR-1 gene in a sample of bacteria from the woman last week.

The CDC says it's not surprised the MCR-1 gene showed up in the United States.

Doctors also think more cases will likely pop up and while they couldn't tell us too much about the Pennsylvania patient with the gene because of privacy laws, we did get an update on her condition.

"The patient herself is, ya know, fine. but we don't have information yet which can tell us for sure that the infection has been eradicated. or not," said Dr. Beth Bell, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

Doctors say the average person shouldn't be worried about the so-called superbug.

"The risk to the public at this point is really pretty much minimal," said Dr. Bell.

The CDC explains why people shouldn't be freaking out about the gene and bacteria just yet.

It's because MCR-1 is a gene that could lead to an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria.

The gene it self would have to travel on the part of a cell called a plasmid.

That plasmid moves from one bacteria to another and the more it moves, the more likely it is to create a new bacteria.

"This gene, the fact that 's been identified, provides the opportunity for the puzzle pieces to all fit together and end up with a bacteria that is resistant to every antibiotic."

The CDC isn't quite sure how people can get the MCR-1 gene, but they think it can be contracted like any other bacteria.

Dr. Bell said, "This bacteria can be spread from human to human by close personal contact, by what we sometimes call the fecal to oral route possibly where there is contamination of food that may not be completely cooked."

The CDC is working now to study the MCR-1 gene and others like it by improving communications between a network of labs throughout the country.

Even with the CDC investigating and treating the patient, doctors say they may never know how the Pennsylvania women ended up with the MCR-1 gene in the first place.