HOUSTON - Houston Methodist Research Institute scientists say they have discovered a rare strain of a superbug found in Houston patients.

The strain is resistant to many commonly used antibiotics.

“Finding the otherwise uncommon strain in our city was a very surprising discovery,” said James M. Musser, M.D., Ph.D. “Because Klebsiella pneumoniae is a common and important cause of human infections, we urgently need to identify potential vaccine targets or other new treatments, and develop new and rapid diagnostic techniques.”

Musser said the reason why this particular strain is prevalent in the Houston area is a mystery. The bug is one of the most common causes of infections in hospitalized patients in the United States.

Scientists discover abundance of uncommon superbug strain in greater Houston area from Houston Methodist on Vimeo.

The superbug typically doesn’t cause disease when it lives inside human intestines. However, when it moves into other parts of the body, the bacteria can cause a range of illnesses, including pneumonia.

Earlier this year, the superbug made national and international headlines when the Centers for Disease Control documented the first case of an elderly Nevada woman who died from a rare form of this superbug after she failed to respond to all 26 antibiotics used in the United States.

However, Dr. Wesley Long said that the strain identified in local patients remains susceptible to certain antibiotics that can be used to treat patients.