Deadly NDM-1 ‘superbug’ raises fears of antibiotic resistance in city hospitals

  • Vishav Bharti, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Oct 15, 2014 12:04 IST

Hospitals may soon find it very difficult to treat patients with serious infections as a “superbug,” a bacteria that develops resistance to multiple antibiotics, has somehow found its way into the city.

According to a recent study by the medical microbiology departments of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh and Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32 and published in the October issue of the ‘Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology’ has found that the superbug, commonly called New-Delhi-Metallo-1 (NDM-1) and which is resistant to almost all antibiotics, is present among patients getting treatment at both institutes.

About four years ago a similar study published in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ by a British scientist about the prevalence of NDM-1 in India’s hospitals created a furore among the country’s medical community.

During the study, 117 different types of drug resistant bacteria samples were collected from respiratory and blood specimens of patients being treated at PGI. Of these samples 66.1% were from patients in ICUs, 14.7% from those in general wards and 19.3% from patients in emergency OPDs and wards.

When it came to prevalence of the “superbug”, 27% of the patients tested positive for NDM and 6.8% for NDM-1. Area wise 25% of samples taken from patients in ICUs tested positive for NDM, while 12.5% of patients in wards and 52.4% of those in emergency OPDs tested positive.

“We observed a hospital-wide distribution of NDM positive samples. A higher percentage of samples carrying NDM in emergency wards and OPDs (52.5%) than in ICUs (25%) was noted. However, this finding cannot be statistically substantiated as there was a greater number of positive samples collected from ICUs (66.1%) than from emergency OPDs and wards (19.3%), and the number of positive samples was small.

“Resistance to antibiotics, is a matter of great concern. The time is not too far away when there will be no drug available to treat serious infections lest we enhance our infection control practices and implement strong antibiotic policies,” study observed.

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