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‘Nightmare bacteria’ are trying to spread in the U.S., CDC says

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“Nightmare bacteria” with the power to resist most antibiotics are popping up across the U.S., but new, aggressive policies can help stop them from spreading, federal health officials said Tuesday.

A new program for testing suspect bacteria turned up unusual antibiotic-resistance genes 221 times in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. And 11 percent of people screened for these superbugs carried them, even though they had no symptoms, the CDC said.

“CDC’s study found several dangerous pathogens, hiding in plain sight, that can cause infections that are difficult or impossible to treat,” said the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat. “While they are appearing all over the place, an aggressive approach can snuff them out.”

Antibiotic-resistant germs kill more than 23,000 Americans a year.

They evolve quickly, developing mutations that let them evade the effects of antibiotics. If they are not stopped fast, they spread. Worse, the antibiotic-resistant DNA can be carried in little cassettes of genetic material called plasmids that bacteria can slip in their entirety to one another and to other species of bacteria.

It’s already happened several times in the U.S. — and when one superbug gives new powers to a different superbug, the result can be an infection that is impossible to treat.

“Once antibiotic resistance spreads, it is harder to control—like a wildfire,” the CDC said in a statement.

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The World Health Organization has labeled antibiotic resistance a “fundamental threat” to humanity.

The CDC tried out a new system aimed at quickly identifying these superbugs. They’ve helped staff up state health departments and labs to speedily test samples so that hospitals, clinics and other facilities can rapidly isolate patients infected with them.

“We were able to put 500 additional staff across the country to help with this,” Schuchat told NBC News.

Carrying germs, without any symptoms

The results were sobering. One in four of the samples sent in carried superbug genes, the CDC team reported. When the facilities involved looked further, they found 11 percent of seemingly unaffected people screened carried such germs without having any symptoms.

“This means the germ could have spread undetected in that health care facility,” the CDC said.

That is what has been happening for decades with all sorts of infections, from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to killer Clostridium difficile infections.

Inappropriate overuse of antibiotics is and has been a major factor, said Dr. Lance Price, who directs the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University.

“Healthy people will carry these bugs without symptoms,” said Price, who was not involved in the CDC study. “We can spread them to susceptible people. We can become almost like a human mosquito, spreading these germs.”

“Nobody is writing a five-star review for that doctor who is a really good steward of antibiotics.”

“Nobody is writing a five-star review for that doctor who is a really good steward of antibiotics.”

Healthy people can unknowingly transmit the germs to a cancer patient, someone getting an organ transplant, a vulnerable newborn or a frail elderly person. That’s when an infection can take hold and kill.

“What the CDC is highlighting is the need, once you identify people carrying these bugs, to screen them and also their contacts to make sure they haven’t passed these bugs,” Price said.

The CDC tested for two of the best-known superbug germs: carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE, and carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA) bacteria.

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Coronavirus: Trump says 200,000 US deaths is ‘a shame’ | US News

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Donald Trump has referred to the death of 200,000 people from coronavirus in the US – the highest figure of any country in the world – as “a shame”.

The president insisted the number of Americans who had died from COVID-19 could have been far higher had it not been for the actions of his administration, without providing evidence for his claim.

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Mr Trump leaves Washington for an election rally in Pennsylvania
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Mr Trump leaves Washington for an election rally in Pennsylvania

Mr Trump had initially ignored a question from the media about the US death toll as he was leaving the White House for an election rally in Pennsylvania.

He then said: “I think it’s a shame. I think if we didn’t do it properly and do it right, you’d have 2.5 million deaths. You could have a number that would be substantially more.

“It’s a horrible thing. Should have never, ever happened.”

He also repeated his previous criticisms of China, where the coronavirus first emerged at the end of 2019.

He said: “China should have stopped it at their border. They should have never let this spread all over the world. It’s a terrible thing.”

Mr Trump has been criticised for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, having repeatedly sought to downplay the disease as it began to spread through the US.

There are continuing fears among health experts that the high level of infections in the country will make the virus more difficult to control during the winter months.

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According to Johns Hopkins University, the US has seen nearly 6.9 million cases and 200,818 deaths.

The figures account for more than 20% of the cases worldwide, despite the US having just over 4% of the world’s population.

Brazil has the second worst toll with 138,105 recorded deaths. The global figure for deaths from the coronavirus is 971,483.

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Ex-traffic cop who claims to be reincarnation of Jesus arrested in Russia | World News

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A former traffic police officer who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus has been arrested by Russian security forces.

Prominent mystic Sergei Torop and other leaders of the Church of the Last Testament sect were held in a remote part of Siberia on Tuesday.

They are accused of “damaging their followers’ health”.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that the religious group had used psychological pressure to extract money from its followers and caused serious harm to their health.

Sergei Torop
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The cult leader is a former traffic policeman

Torop, known to his followers as Vissarion, set up the Church of the Last Testament in the Krasnoyarsk region in 1991, the year the Soviet Union broke up.

The operation to detain him, as well as group leaders Vadim Redkin and Vladimir Vedernikov, involved the police as well as members of the Federal Security Service.

The men could face up to 12 years in jail if found guilty, the RIA news agency reported.

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Luis Suarez faces investigation after ‘cheating’ on Italian citizenship test | World News

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Police in Italy have opened an investigation after Luis Suarez, one of the most controversial players in world football, was accused of cheating on his Italian citizenship test ahead of a move to the country.

The Uruguayan, who has previously faced bans for biting opponents and making racist remarks, took the exam in Perugia last week to facilitate a transfer from Barcelona to Juventus.

But prosecutors allege the former Liverpool striker, 33, knew what was going to be in the paper and that his mark had already been decided.

Luis Suarez leaves the University for Foreigners in Perugia after taking an Italian citizenship test
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Luis Suarez leaves the University for Foreigners in Perugia after taking an Italian citizenship test

The Perugia public prosecutor’s office said in a statement: “Some irregularities have emerged in the exam of certification of Italian, sat on September 17 by Uruguayan football player Luis Alberto Suarez Diaz, needed to obtain the Italian citizenship.

“From the investigation, it emerged that the topics in the exam had been agreed in advance with the applicant and that the relative mark had been attributed even before carrying out the exam, regardless of the fact that an elementary proficiency of the Italian language had been verified during remote classes carried out by lecturers of the University for Foreigners.

Suarez (left) was handed an eight-match ban over the incident
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Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches ban for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra (R)

“Today, the Italian financial police are moving forward to capture the documents at the university offices, to verify the actions described beforehand and notify the information assurances for the crimes of revelation of professional secrecy, false representation committed by public officials in official documents and other acts.

Juventus have no places left in their squad for non-EU players, meaning Suarez had to obtain Italian citizenship to join the club.

And the proposed move appears to have fallen through, with the Italian champions now set to re-sign Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrd.

Suarez, who has been told he can leave Barcelona, now seems set to replace Morata in the Spanish capital.

Luis Suarez battles for possession
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Luis Suarez is a Uruguayan international

Republicca reported a local official as saying on Monday: “He [Suarez} does not speak a word of Italian.

“He does not conjugate verbs, he only speaks using the infinitive. If journalists would ask him some questions, he’d be lost. He earns €10million a year, he needs to pass this exam.”

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