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LOS ANGELES, CA – Public health officials are warning of the emergence of a new strain of bacteria demonstrating an unusual resistance pattern.  The warning stems from a report from North Hollywood Upstairs Medical Center, where a strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae was isolated from the sputum of a 67-year-old male.  Initial antibiotic susceptibility testing by the microbiology lab identified the specimen as a carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacae, or CRE.  This “superbug” is resistant to essentially all commonly used antibiotics, and is an infection control nightmare.

resistant bacteriaBut the lab didn’t stop there.  “Since antibiotics were no longer an option, we wanted to see if any alternative methods would be effective,” explains clinical microbiologist Dr. Roger Kendall.  “We wanted to see exactly what it was capable of.”  Microbiology technicians used a CLSI-standard 9 mm pistol to fire several rounds into the specimen.  Despite several hits at point-blank range, the specimen was able to stop the bullets.  “Worse,” says Dr. Kendall.  “It started eating the bullets.”

The next step involved spraying the specimen with an FDA-approved flamethrower, but again their efforts proved futile.  “The entire bench was scorched, but the specimen was unharmed.  Instead, it started to laugh maniacally, and we now believe we may have inadvertently given it the ability to breathe fire.”

Despite aggressive efforts by the hospital’s infection control team, the specimen managed to escape the lab, and was last seen climbing a skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles. According to a CDC spokesperson, defeating it will be very difficult.

“It’s unclear what its intentions are, but we now believe it to be an ‘evil superbug.’  It appears to be too powerful to kill by any physical means.  Our only hope now is to somehow outsmart it.  In the meantime, Los Angeles has been placed on droplet precautions, and yellow disposable gowns and gloves will be made available to all citizens.”

P.E. Coma
Bio: Dr. Phillip E. Coma was first recognized in his field in 1943 by his mentor, Dr. K. Apitz. His place of origin is unknown, though some speculate that he originates from the Neural Crest region of Western Massachusetts. P. E. Coma and his cousins, Clarence L. “Sugar” Toumer and Angie Omaya Lypoma, have dedicated their lives to treating patients with tuberous sclerosis, with whom their family is intimately associated. While P. E. Coma is known by his colleagues for his typically benign demeanor, on occasion he has been known to act aggressively, and he is therefore best described as having “uncertain malignant potential.” P. E. Coma also stains with melanocytic markers, such as Melan-A and HMB-45.