WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent a letter to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting a study examining the epidemiology of antibiotic resistant bacteria, commonly known as “superbugs.” Signing the letter was: Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO).
Superbugs, which have been a growing threat, pose challenges about how these diseases can be treated. In further studying them, bipartisan committee leaders hope to learn more about how they are detected, and what barriers we face in developing new antibiotics.
“Different mechanisms can give rise to antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” wrote Walden, Pallone, and DeGette. “For example, the broad use of antibiotics in food-producing animals can lead to antibiotic resistance. Once this resistance is developed, the bacteria can spread worldwide. In November 2015, researchers from China discovered the mcr-1 gene, which makes bacteria resistant to colistin, an antibiotic of last resort. In 2016, the Department of Defense reported the discovery of E. coli bacteria carrying the mcr-1 gene in a patient in Pennsylvania. Further, a recent USDA and HHS search for colistin-resistant bacteria in food animals, retail meats, and people also found colistin-resistant E. coli in a pig intestine sample. Understanding and addressing this issue is complex from both a science and policy perspective.”
Click HERE to read a copy of the letter.