Superbug at Mumbai’s doorstep
Pune hospital records 20 NDM-1 cases in last two months, but medical professionals in the city say there is no cause to worry, yet
Clinical microbiologists at Pune’s Sassoon hospital and National Centre of Cell Science (NCCS) have found as many as 20 people infected with the NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1) gene since the last two months. Given the highly contagious nature of the pathogen, those infected need to be isolated in special cells to prevent its spread.
The scientists collected samples of blood, urine and puss from 3,172 patients at the hospital and found that 885 had gram negative bacilli (bacteria which cause a majority of infections). Of these 885, as many as 181 were resistant to the carbapenem family of drugs, while 20 were detected with the NDM-1 gene.
“Dr Renu Bharadwaj of NCCS had selected some samples. In 20 of them, the sequence showed homology to NDM-1,” said Dr Yogesh Shouche, senior scientist at NCCS.
State health authorities are now gearing up to set a protocol under which all public hospitals in the city will need to send blood and urine samples of patients not responding to treatment for NDM-1 testing.
“This will help us find NDM-1 cases, if any, in the city,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, joint director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER). According to authorities, this is a precautionary measure and Mumbai doesn’t need to panic as the percentage of drug-resistant In Pune, clinical microbiologists at the government-run BJMC and Sassoon General Hospital and the National Centre of Cell Science (NCCS) collected samples of blood, urine and pus from 3,172 over the last two months cases is not on the rise.
The superbug, the naming of which created much controversy in recent months with the Indian authorities taking exception to ‘New Delhi’, is known to make bacte- ria resistant to even the most high-end antibiotics, making it difficult to treat infections. Patients who get infected do not have a good chance of survival, say experts.
The microbiology depart- ment of Nair hospital at Mumbai Central conducted a study on metallo-beta-lactamases (MBLs) incidence in their patients last year. Around 18% were found to be MBL producers. “NDM-1 is a more resist- ant type than MBL. We can’t say anything about the presence of NDM-1 in the city. We plan to conduct a study in a month, which will help us identify the geographical location of NDM-1 cases, if any,” said Dr Jayanthi Shastri, professor, microbiology department, Nair hospital.
Meanwhile, researchers in a Mumbai hospital had reported presence of a multidrug-resistant superbug in an article published in an Indian medical journal, months before UK journal Lancet’s study.
Dr Camilla Rodrigues, microbiology head, PD Hinduja hospital, said, “At our hospital, we screen for NDM-1. If we find a positive case, we isolate the patient and follow the infection control rules stringently.”