Tuesday, September 14, 2010

NDM-1 found in Massachusetts

Back in August, NDM-1 bacteria made national news when it was discovered in Europe and many predicted that it will spread to the rest of the world. Yesterday, I read on Boston Globe's online portal that a case of NDM-1 had been found in Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

NDM-1 is a gene that makes bacteria highly resistant to many classes of antibiotics. The bacteria originated in India, where unregulated use of antibiotics is common. The MGH patient had recently traveled to India, had spent time in a hospital there, and was undergoing cancer treatment at MGH when the bug was discovered. Two other cases have also been identified in California and in Illinois.

The most worrisome aspect of this bug is the lack of antibiotics to treat it. Currently, only two antibiotics are some what effective against NDM-1 bacteria: colistin and tigecycline, and doctors don't foresee any new antibiotics being developed in the near future. To quote the author of the article, "The paucity of drugs reflects not only the strength of the superbug but also the long-neglected development of new antibiotics."

Full text of the Boston Globe article

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