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Sunday 25th March 2018

New antibiotic resistant superbugs

13th August 2009

Doctors in the UK have been urged to be on alert for a new bug that is arriving in the UK.


There are concerns that patients who have travelled to India and Pakistan for cosmetic surgery or organ transplants may be bringing the new bug back with them to this country.

The bug is known as New Delhi Metallo-1 enzyme.

The Health Protection Agency says its emergence in the UK is a major concern and revealed that so far there have been 22 cases in 17 hospitals in Britain.

There have also been cases of holidaymakers catching the bug from hospitals in Greece or Turkey while the HPA also believes Israel and the USA may be sources of introduction into the UK.

The HPA's antibiotic resistance monitoring and reference laboratory (ARMRL) is encouraging hospitals to be on alert for multi-resistant gram-negative bacteria in patients with recent hospital contact in the Indian subcontinent as well as the eastern Mediterranean.

It is also hoping pharmaceutical companies can produce drugs to fight the bacteria.

Dr David Livermore, the HPA's director of antimicrobial research, said there had been a rise in cases over the past 18 months and the bug may also have been linked to two deaths.

John McConnell, editor of the medical journal the Lancet Infectious Diseases, said: "There's the potential for this to become a substantial problem of antibiotic resistance within UK hospitals.”

However, he stressed that compared to MRSA or Clostridium difficile, the new bug was “small beer” at present.


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