Friday, August 13, 2010

The Imminent Menace of NDM-1 Superbug: an Anti-biotic Resistant Gene

Connie Sison
Photo from QTV-11
I was watching “24 Oras” (GMA 7-TV news) last night. Connie Sison reported about a new strain of gene that turns bacteria like E. Coli into a super bug: the gene NDM-1 or New Delhi Metallo Beta Lactamase enzyme.

Enlarged E.Coli Bacteria/Photo from wikicommons
British scientists announced the medical news yesterday. They said that the new super bug gene can enter bacteria and move from one specie of bacteria to another and makes it resistant to any form of anti biotic medicine available in the market. They reported 37 confirmed cases in UK. According to their study, these 37 people returned to UK from India after undergoing medical procedures, which makes them conclude that they got the gene infection from India. There were also reports that the gene had been detected in Australia and the US, in Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden. Around 50 cases had been recorded.

India had been a top medical tourism destination in recent years. Since, many medical tourists around the world had been going in and out of India, experts fear for a worldwide infection. However, India rejected the claim of the British scientists’ that the NDM-1 came from them. The Indian health ministry said that the claim was unfair and called it a “malicious propaganda”. They further said that the “plasmid” (DNA molecule) related to antibiotic resistance is found in the environment and in animal or human intestines generally.

The super bug infection can transfer from one person to another through physical contact like a simple hand shake. It can enter the body through the openings of the mouth, eyes, nose and open wounds. The Department of Health believes that it may take time before antibiotics for this new strain of gene will become available. As of today, there is no NDM-1 infection on record here in the Philippines but we must keep watch. The best remedy for any bacterial infection is still cleanliness.

Perhaps, the origin no longer matter now. The health ministries around the world must work hand in hand so that the imminent menace of this NDM-1 super bug may be eliminated before it starts.

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