New antibiotic-resistant super-bacteria reported: NDM-1

You’ve heard of MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus). Maybe you’ve heard about VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococcus). Now there’s a new class of superbugs out there – and they look particularly nasty.

These bad bacteria carry a gene called NDM-1, which makes them resistant to almost all standard antibiotics, according to a recent report in The Lancet (link).

The NDM-1 carrying bacteria, first discovered in India and Pakistan, have now been spotted in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

Here’s the interesting bit for us: several of the patients in the U.K. who have this multi-drug resistant bacterial infection acquired it during recent trips to India and Pakistan for cosmetic surgery! Yet another reason not to go abroad for your plastic surgery!

Experts blame a culture of rampant overuse of antibiotics in India and Pakistan as a likely cause for the emergence of the resistance problem. Regardless, it’s a public health issue with major world-wide implications. The bacteria involved are usually “gram negative” bacteria, such as E. Coli or Klebsiella. These bacteria typically cause urinary tract infections or pneumonias, and would be diagnosed by a typical “culture and sensitivity” test. An Infectious Disease specialist should be involved, if NDM-1 is diagnosed.

More information about the NDM-1 bacteria can be found on the BBC news website. (link)

Until better treatments for NDM-1 can be established, you might want to think twice about travelling to an endemic area, like Pakistan or India, for any medical treatments.

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