If you check into certain hospitals in Houston, you may never leave AP Photo/David Goldman
Microbiologist Tatiana Travis works with tubes of bacteria samples in an antimicrobial resistance and characterization lab within the Infectious Disease Laboratory at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

According to research in mBio, a medical journal published by the American Society for Microbiology, one Houston hospital system is hosting a rising number of uncommon superbug bacteria.

To make matters worse, the superbug infections are resistant to nearly 30 different types of antibiotics.

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From 2011 to 2015, over 1,700 patients were infected in the Houston Methodist hospital system with at least one type of strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae, which is known to cause bloodstream and respiratory infections.

A particularly rare form of the bacteria, known as clone type 307, was found to be most common in the sample, and experts believe the phenomenon cluster may be more than coincidentally linked to the Houston area.

That said, K. pneumoniae, like many other types of bacterium superbugs, is still actively evolving, and the “local superbug is no more virulent than the other strains,” Houston Methodist Hospital Clinical Microbiology associate director Dr. S. Wesley Long said in an interview.

Dr. Long and experts aren’t sure why the 307 strain is so common in Houston, but, although its resistance to treatment may be changing, there are still certain antibiotics available to patients.

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“We are still trying to come to terms with what the implications are,” Dr. Long said further. “We don’t want to alarm anyone.”


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