x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

India rejects NDM-1 link to Britain

The British medical publication Lancet Infectious Diseases say the new superbug entered the UK from India.

NEW DELHI // The Indian Government yesterday rejected a study by British scientists linking NDM-1 to surgeries in Indian hospitals. The British medical publication Lancet Infectious Diseases said the new superbug entered the UK from India. "This news has created a misconception and a feeling that the point of origin of the bacteria is in India," said RK Srivastav, India's director general of Health Services.

"We have got the matter examined. We have come to a conclusion this is not the right statement. After seeing the research paper I strongly refute that hospitals in India are the source of the strain and strongly condemn naming the bacteria after New Delhi." A representative of India's National Centre for Disease Control said the Lancet report was "not supported by any scientific data". "This occurs in nature and in the intestines of animals and humans universally. Similar strains found in the US and UK," said RL Ichhpujani, the organisation's director.

Although all the cases of NDM-1 found in Britain were in patients who had received medical treatment on the subcontinent, Indian hospitals were keen to stress that they were few in number. Dr Amit Verma, the director of critical care, Fortis Escorts Hospitals in New Delhi said: "We do not anticipate any major impact to medical tourism in India." He added that the "chances of a global epidemic are negligible because of the restricted transmission capability of the bacteria".

Dr Monica Mahajan, a senior medical consultant at Delhi-based Max Healthcare - which also regularly receives patients from abroad - said there was little chance that the bacteria would infect overseas "health tourism" visitors. "These bacteria are mostly transmitted to intensive care patients, those in ventilators or critically ill patients," she said. "Since overseas patients come for selective surgeries, chances of them getting infected with these bugs are negligible."

Some Indian microbiologists, however, said there was reason to be concerned about the emergence of resistant bugs. "It is an extremely serious situation and our health authorities are not able to realise the gravity of it," said Dr Chand Wattal, head of clinical microbiology at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi. foreigndesk@thenational.ae