UK scientists have found a gene NDM-1 superbug or New Delhi
metallo-beta-lactamase 1 in drinking water supplies in New Delhi that makes
bacteria highly drug-resistant. This gene was found in 2 of the 50 drinking
water samples and 51 of 171 street samples taken between September and October
It was first identified in 1998. Since then infections have occurred in Britain,
Canada, Australia, US and Sweden. The NDM-1 is believed to have spread to 11
new species including the germs that cause dysentery and cholera. Researchers at
the Cardiff University in UK studied the gene and found that the rate at which
it was copied and transferred to other bacteria was highest at 30 degree
centigrade. Generally this is the temperature in Delhi between April-October
and includes the monsoon season which means that it poses a potential threat to
disseminate resistant bacteria.
However the Indian health officials called the study 'unsupported'. When they
tested nearly 2,000 women in a New Delhi hospital they found that none of them
showed signs of the NDM-1 gene. Therefore the Government officials have
asserted that this discovery does not pose any public health threat. Director-general
of the Indian Council of Medical Research, V.M. Katoch said, "We know that
such bacteria with genes are in the atmosphere everywhere. This is a waste of
time. The study is creating a scare that India is a dangerous country to visit.
We are condemning it."