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» »Unlabelled » NDM-1 Super-evolution: Deadly superbug from India makes leap to Canada

Canadian who's never been to India has superbug

NEW DELHI: NDM-1, the enzyme associated with extensive antibiotic resistance that was found in India last year, has jumped to new bacteria strains and infected a Canadian, who had no travel history to India.

For the first time, scientists in Canada have reported local acquisition of an organism producing NDM-1 in Ontario, Canada. NDM-1 has been found in bacterial species other than E coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

The findings are in tune with a TOI report a few weeks ago that had pointed out about NDM-1 gene, which has been jumping between various species of bacteria at a "superfast speed."

British scientists from the Cardiff University, who first reported on the existence of NDM-1, told TOI that when it was first detected in 2006, the bacteria were found only in E Coli.

"We have found NDM-1 gene in more than 20 different species of bacteria. NDM-1 can move at unprecedented speed, making more and more species of bacteria drug resistant," said Dr Mark Toleman told TOI.

Dr Susan Poutanen from Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network says in the latest study, "These scenarios show that local acquisition of an organism producing NDM-1 has already occurred in Ontario, Canada, that it has been found in bacterial species other than E Coli and K pneumoniae, that treatment options are limited for infections with NDM-1-producing organisms and that the detection of NDM-1-producing organisms by a laboratory can be difficult."

British scientists are genetically sequencing about a dozen different types of bacteria like Shigella boydii and Vibrio cholerae, which contains NDM-1 gene to ascertain its superfast speed.

"We are sequencing genomes containing the drug resistant NDM-1 gene to understand how it is able to move so quickly from one species of bacteria to another, breaking all barriers. NDM-1 has a special gift that helps it jump so quickly, and we want to know what that is," Dr Toleman said.

He added, "In another couple of months, once we have completed sequencing the genome of these infected bacteria isolates, we will have a good idea about the genetic factors that help it move so fast. This will give us an opportunity to know how we can slow down that spread."

Canadian doctors announced on Monday night that NDM-1 has infected two patients – one with a travel history to India, and another being locally acquired.

The doctors have isolated the bacteria from an 86-year-old man, who has not travelled outside Ontario for at least past 10 years, and has had no obvious contact with anyone, who had visited India.

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