A new report showed that a gene which causes bacteria to become impervious to antibiotics has been found in the water supply in New Delhi. The implications for the rest of the world are huge and formidable, already being observed in Europe, where the gene, New Delhi or NDM-1 superbug, has been found among patients. Health experts in Europe are saying the battle with antibiotic-resistant infections has reached a critical point, and even the strongest and newest drugs are no longer able to fight them.
According to the BBC over 25,000 people die every year in the EU alone from bacterial infections that even the newest antibiotics will not treat.
The Guardian reports more on the findings in India:
“the gene, known as NDM-1, is widespread in the water used for cooking, washing and drinking in Delhi. It will inevitably be brought into hospitals in the gut flora of patients. The potential for movement around the world is high.”
NDM-1 causes myriad variations of bacteria – including E coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae – to become immune to antibiotics known as carbapenems, that are used when other antibiotics fail to work. The team also found the gene had spread to bacteria that cause dysentery and cholera.
However, the widespread panic over germs and the sanitizer craze, disinfectants, etc., at least in the U.S., continues, in light of being a major part of the problem.
The Guardian quotes Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe:
“There are now superbugs that do not respond to any drug. Given the growth of travel and trade in Europe and across the world, people should be aware that until all countries tackle this, no country alone can be safe.”