It has been a topic of global concern that the latest superbug, New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase 1, or NDM-1 for short, gives bacteria superpowers against most antibiotics.
Back in June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told U.S. doctors to watch out for the new type of resistant bug, after finding them in three patients who had received medical care in India and Pakistan, reports NPR.
By early August, there had been about 50 cases identified in the UK. The experts feared NDM-1 could now jump to other strains of bacteria already resistant to many other antibiotics. Ultimately, this could produce dangerous infections that would spread rapidly and be almost impossible to treat.
Similar infections have been seen in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands and international researchers say that NDM-1 could become a major global health problem.
According to China Daily, health authorities in China have expressed concern about the emergence of the superbug but emphasized that the situation was not as serious as in other countries. Hong Kong has reported one case of infection. The patient, of Indian ethnicity, suffered a urinary tract infection in October 2009 but recovered without further incident. Dr Thomas Tsang, the Controller of the Center for Health Protection, said the center "is very much concerned about the emergence of NDM-1 bacteria in other parts of the world and here in the city". However, he maintained that "contrary to previous reports, NDM-1 can be treated and it is indeed capable of being controlled, though treatment may be extended."
In terms of prevention, Tsang advised that personal hygiene was of paramount importance. "Finish your antibiotics in accordance with doctors’ instructions. Cover your wounds and keep your hands clean at all times," Tsang said.