Superbugs `unchecked` in India: Report

Updated: Feb 07, 2012, 11:25 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: A new report has claimed that about 100- 200 million Indians might be carrying two lethal forms of superbug, ha-MRSA and ca-MRSA – which are said to be resistant to all available antibiotics, except for one that has never been tried, due to its potentially deadly side effects.

The report came two years after the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 (NDM 1) superbug was first detected in the country.

The report which states that India is responsible for the killer bacteria`s spread in England was published in the German news magazine `Der Spiegel`. Until now, no deaths have been reported due to these bacteria, but it`s also been found in Germany, the US, the UK and Israel.

The new superbugs, ca-MRSA and ha-MRSA, are metamorphosed forms of the MRSA bacteria and one of these strains attacks young, healthy people.

Dr Abhay Chowdhary, Director, Haffkines Research Institute, said, "The bacteria can spread through shared clothing or towels, or direct body contact, if a carrier has a cut, for example."

While the Indian Council of Medical Research is denying the serious threat, the British medical journal `The Lancet` has said that the new superbugs could spark off a "pandemic".

"MRSA is all over the world. In fact, such strains were initially reported from western hospitals and appeared much later in our settings. ICMR does not wish to enter into unnecessary arguments about speculative numbers," read an ICMR statement.

The crisis highlights that a tenth of India`s population could be carrying the fatal bacteria because of thriving indiscriminate overuse of antibiotics.