Scientists Warn of Antibiotic Resistant Superbug

Drug resistance—specifically antibiotic resistance—has become more than just worrisome. Antibiotic drug resistance implications are dangerous, deadly, and upon us.

We just wrote about a dangerous and emerging strain of drug resistant E. coli. Now, MSNBC, with Reuters and The Associated Press (AP) report that patients returning to Britain who visited India for cosmetic surgery have brought back a new gene that enables any bacteria to turn into a <"">super bug. Scientists report that this particular drug resistance could go global, affecting people not just in India, where it has become widespread, said MSNBC.

And, now, experts say that due to their popular medical tourism industries, India and Pakistan could help in the surge of antibiotic resistance with more and more people bringing the dangerous pathogens back to their countries, explained MSNBC.

The super bug gene can switch between other bacteria, creating a resistance to most drugs and has been found in 37 patients who returned to the United Kingdom after surgery in India or Pakistan, wrote MSNBC. The resistant gene has been reported in Australia, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, and Sweden, added MSNBC.

In an article published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, doctors reported discovery of a gene called NDM-1, which changes bacteria and makes them multi-drug resistant, explained MSNBC. The gene has been seen in drug resistant E. coli and on DNA structures that are easily replicated and passed to other bacteria, added MSNBC, “The potential of NDM-1 to be a worldwide public health problem is great, and coordinated international surveillance is needed,” the authors wrote, quoted MSNBC.

When antibiotics are overused or misused, bacteria mutate, changing just enough to ensure drugs have no effect on them and allowing them a wide berth to spread with increasing power. Although tempting, preventative antibiotic regimes only worsen the epidemic, strengthening the bacteria. New drugs are not immune because, as new drugs surface, it’s a matter of time before super bugs become resistant to them, too.

Bacteria samples collected from hospital patients in two Indian locations and from patients referred to Britain’s national reference laboratory from 2007 and 2009 revealed 44 NDM-1-positive bacteria in Chennai, Haryana, Britain, and elsewhere in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, said MSNBC. NDM-1-producing bacteria resist many antibiotics including a class of medications—carbapenems—generally only used in emergency situations, such as treating multi-resistance infections including MRSA and C-Difficile, according to MSNBC.

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