HOUSTON (KTRK) --A new war has been waged against a common bacteria that is resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics.
"The concerning part is that this is a common bacteria in the community," said Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and UTHealth infectious disease specialist Dr. Luis Ostrosky. "Now is the time to act, and we need to also strengthen our drug discovery and development."
The bacteria is called E. Coli, a common bacteria that can cause anything from urinary tract infections to food poisoning.
A patient in Pennsylvania has the bacteria strain that was immune to antibiotics. Ostrosky said the so-called superbug can infect millions and threaten lives.
He said the superbug maybe a signal to a new frontier of medicine, a post-antibiotic era.
"Surgery or transplants or chemotherapy cannot happen because people would die of infection because there's no way to treat their infections," said Dr. Ostrosky.
Ostrovsky said medical research is happening now to come up with new fighter against the bacteria. In the meantime, he said there's something everyone can do.
"As consumers, what we can do is not be pressuring our doctors to be giving us antibiotics. And when we do get antibiotics, complete the courses. Take a dose is that we are given and do what the doctor says," said Dr. Ostrosky.
The medical community is also taking a closer look at its practices, specifically when prescribing antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Control pointed at a new study which revealed some 30 percent of antibiotics in the US are prescribed unnecessarily, creating nearly 47 million excess prescriptions each year.
The study also found that doctors are prescribing antibiotics for viruses including the common cold which do not respond antibiotics.