News about super bug consisting of New Delhi metallo beta lactamase (NDM-1) enzyme is still hot on the plate and claimed that bacteria was spread from hospitals in India and Pakistan. This strain of bacteria is touted as resistant to almost every antibiotic and hence poses threat to the human life. India was quick to respond and rejected claim of British scientist that NDM-1 enzyme was originated from India. Indian health ministry said it was unfair to link the bug to India and officials described it as “malicious propaganda”.
Indian health officials responded in a press release by saying that the “plasmid”, associated with drug resistance to antibiotics, is present “in the environment, may be in the intestines of humans and animals universally.”
Bad publicity to Indian Medical Tourism Industry
Medical Tourism has been gaining momentum from past few years and is projected to growth at a rate of double digits for next decade or so. As a part of this Medical Tourism, patients from all over the world are tapping into medical facilities in countries like India due to significant lower cost. Many officials responded to this BBC report as sensational, unfair and wrong propaganda. Some of the specific comments include:
- We strongly refute the naming of this enzyme as New Delhi metallo beta lactamase
- We also refute that hospitals in India are not safe for treatment, including medical tourism
- When India is emerging as...
a medical tourism destination, this type of news is unfortunate and may be a sinister design of multi-national companies, said MP SS Ahluwalia of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.
- Congress party’s Jayanthi Natarajan said the report of the superbug was a “wrong propaganda against the country”.
It may be difficult to pinpoint the origin of NDM-1 enzyme as indicated by an Indian official “a person could become infected with the drug-resistant bacteria anywhere in the world”. I think, it will be difficult to dig out roots of origin of NDM-1 enzyme. One way of approaching it would be to look at two – three months travel history of the affected patients and alert authorities of those places of risk of NDM-1 infection. Proper action is needed to eliminate this infection as its spread can be much more deadly than recent swine flu pandemic.