How to Identify and Help Prevent NDM-1

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The NDM-1 “Superbug” and How to Avoid It

First identified in a published report in 2009, NDM-1 (or New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1) is actually an enzyme that attaches itself to a wide variety of bacteria, and renders that bacteria strongly resistant to the most potent broad-spectrum antibiotics, known as carbapenems.

Among the first known patients affected by NDM-1 was a patient being treated for a urinary tract infection in a Swedish hospital who had previously been treated in a hospital in New Delhi, India, where the enzyme is thought to have originated.1 Since then, occurrences of NDM-1 have been found on all continents.

So, while NDM-1 does not carry its own health risks and symptoms, in conjunction with certain bacteria, it can make medical treatment much more difficult.

What Are the Symptoms of NDM-1?

The main sign of a person infected with bacteria carrying NDM-1 is the failure of antibiotics to affect the patient’s condition. Because NDM-1 can be carried by a wide variety of gram-negative bacteria, it is difficult to assign other specific symptoms to it. Gram-negative bacteria can cause conditions from cholera to pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Another major factor in diagnosing people infected with bacteria carrying NDM-1 is a history of travel to India, particularly for “medical tourism.”

Where Is NDM-1 Most Common?

The NDM-1 resistance gene is most frequently found in these conditions:

  • Areas that are overpopulated
  • Areas with low levels of hygiene and sanitation
  • Hot and humid climates
  • Populations that prescribe high levels of antibiotics

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

If you have a gram-negative bacterial infection that is not being effectively treated by antibiotics, consult with your doctor, particularly if you have recently travelled to India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh

Also, be certain you:

  • Limit contact with people who have urinary tract infections or diarrhea.
  • Limit contact with other people if you have a urinary tract infection or diarrhea.
  • Take extra precautions with cleanliness when you are preparing and eating food.

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with an antibacterial soap such as Safeguard® with Germ Shield+. Scrub hands briskly for at least 15 seconds, and then dry them with a disposable towel.

SOURCES: 1 National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases Emedicinehealth Biomurieux-usa