There is some bad news for residents of Delhi on World Health Day. British scientists have claimed to detect ‘super bug’ NDM-1, named after the Indian Capital, in Delhi’s water.
NDM 1, or New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1, makes bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics, including the most powerful class called carbapenems. It was first detected in India three years ago and has now spread across the world. It has been found in a wide variety of bugs, including familiar pathogens like Escherichia coli, or E coli.
In the recent study the ‘super bug’ was found in couple of drinking-water samples and 51 of seepage samples taken for test, according to findings of the study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Same group of researchers had earlier found the NDM-1 gene in few patients treated in Indian hospitals.
In all, 171 samples of seepage water and 50 public tap water samples were collected from sites within a 12 km radius of central New Delhi between September and October 2010. The NDM-1 gene was found in two of the 50 drinking water samples and 51 of the 171 sewage and other water samples, said the study led by Timothy Walsh from Cardiff University.
The researchers also inferred from the tests that as many as half a million people are carrying NDM 1-producing bacteria as normal (gut) flora in New Delhi region alone.
The most significant finding is the presence of this gene in bacteria - Shigella boydii and Vibrio cholerae - that cause dysentery and cholera respectively. This could make these bacteria drug resistant and render these diseases untreatable with available drugs.
“NDM- 1 is widely disseminated in New Delhi and has spread into key enteric pathogens,” the researchers warned. “Whether this data can be extrapolated to other Indian cities is unknown, but clearly there is an urgent need for broad epidemiological and environmental studies.”
According to scientists, super bug is a threat to the whole spectrum of modern antibiotics and if contamination spreads, there is scarce or no cure to it. They have cautioned that if no action is taken today concerning super bug, there is no cure to it tomorrow.