"The mutant Klebsiella is harmless in the G.I. tract, but if it escapes to another part of the body—because of poor hygiene or any number of other minor slip-ups—it can turn a routine urinary-tract infection into a life-and-death struggle. To make matters worse, Klebsiella has transferred the genetic recipe for KPC to other—sometimes more dangerous—pathogens. Doctors are now seeing strains of E. coli and Pseudomonas that can produce KPC. To combat the bugs, doctors can either throw a cocktail of antibiotics at the infection or dig up classes of antibiotics that were abandoned decades ago because of their intolerable toxicity.
"Mutant Klebsiella is now spreading around the world, jumping from person to person. It is a particular problem in New York City, where hospital studies have shown that as many as 60 percent of Klebsiella cells can produce KPC. When these bacteria cause an infection, more than one-third of the victims die."