Boston: A new superbug from India
thought to be resistant to nearly every known antibiotic poses
a global threat, scientists warned Monday, urging health
authorities to track the bacteria.
"There is an urgent need, first, to put in place an
international surveillance system over the coming months and,
second, to test all the patients admitted to any given health
system" in as many countries as possible, said Patrice
Nordmann of France`s Bicetre Hospital.
"For the moment, we don`t know how fast this
phenomenon is spreading... it could take months or years, but
what is certain is that is will spread," he said, noting
that measures have already been agreed in France and are under
discussion in Japan, Singapore and China.
"It`s a bit like a time bomb."
Nordmann was in Boston for the 50th annual meeting of
the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and
Chemotherapy (ICAAC), the world`s largest gathering of
infectious disease specialists, which is drawing some 12,000
people here from September 12-14.
The head of Bicetre`s department of bacteriology and
virology noted that the bacteria will find fertile ground in
India`s massive 1.3 billion-person strong population, and
could easily be carried back and forth by the country`s
The so-called "superbug," dubbed NDM-1 (New Delhi
metallo-beta-lactamase 1), and its variants appear to have
originated in India and were first detected in Britain in
The bug attracted media attention after the August
publication of a research article in Britain`s Lancet journal
that said an Indian "medical tourist" appeared to have brought
the bacteria to Britain.
A Belgian citizen hospitalised in Pakistan after a car
accident was the first known death related to infection by the