No, this isn’t the start of the antibiotic apocalypse, just bad reporting

First, the “first” bit. The first line of the Post’s article states: “For the first time, researchers have found a person in the United States carrying bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort.”

Nope—this isn’t even close to true. This is absolutely not the first time a person in the US has been found with a bacteria resistant to a last-resort antibiotic. There are several last-resort antibiotics, and many bacteria over the years have shown up with resistance to them—including colistin.

For instance, way back in 1991, a hospital in Brooklyn suffered an outbreak of bacteria resistant to vancomycin, a last-resort antibiotic. In 2009, several Detroit medical centers suffered an outbreak of bacteria that were resistant to both colistin and carbapenem—another last resort antibiotic. And not even the National Institutes of Health has been immune to bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotics. In 2011, an outbreak of carbapenem-resistant bacteria at the NIH’s clinic sickened 18, killing 11.

The only real first in this case is that it’s the first time mcr-1-based colistin resistance has shown up in a US patient.

While, again, this isn’t exactly good news, it’s not catastrophic. There are several last-resort antibiotics, and doctors can try different combinations and strengths of prescriptions before an infection may be deemed untreatable.