‘Three India-returned people infected with superbug`

Three people, who returned to the US from India earlier this year, have been infected with the "superbug" that are highly resistant to antibiotics, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

Updated: Sep 14, 2010, 11:12 AM IST

Boston: Three people, who returned to the
US from India earlier this year, have been infected with the
"superbug" that are highly resistant to antibiotics, the US
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

All three confirmed US cases - in Massachusetts,
California and Illinois - involved people who had received
medical care in India.

A person infected with the `superbug` was treated
earlier this year at Massachusetts General Hospital and
isolated, a move that helped prevent the germ from spreading.

The patient had recently travelled from India.

The Illinois patient too recovered, and there is no
evidence the infection was transmitted to other people.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said
the Massachusetts patient survived, as did the only other two
US patients with infections.

All three patients developed urinary tract infections
that carried a genetic feature that made their cases harder to
treat.

The superbug, also known as NDM-1 - short for New
Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase - allows bacteria to escape some
of the strongest antibiotics available.

"It leaves treating physicians with few treatment
options," the Boston Globe quoted Alex Kallen, a CDC medical
officer, as saying.

All three of the US patients had been in India, and
two underwent medical procedures in hospitals while they were
there, Kallen said.

The patient treated in Boston was an Indian citizen
with cancer who had undergone surgery and chemotherapy in that
country before coming to Massachusetts, Kallen added.

Cases of NDM-1 infections have been reported in Asia,
Europe and Canada.

Experts have said the threat posed by the germs in the
US is most acute in hospitals.

"They don`t cause infection in people walking down the
street," said Dr Alfred DeMaria, top disease tracker for the
Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

"If somebody is in an intensive care unit on a
ventilator with a tube in their trachea, they are at risk for
these organisms. If someone has had extensive abdominal
surgery with lots of open wounds, they are at risk."

Only two antibiotics possess a measure of
effectiveness against bacteria riddled with NDM-1, doctors
said: an old drug called colistin, and tigecycline.

PTI