The advent of a deadly, drug-resistant bacteria originating in India — NDM-1 — has had researchers in a frenzy, trying to figure out a way to treat a bug that resists all known antibiotics. So far, three cases of NDM-1 have been identified in the US. But, says the Boston Globe’s Stephen Smith, NDM-1’s genetic cousin, Klebsiella pneumoniae, has been spreading in US hospitals for years, prompting the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to start a survey of the state’s hospitals to “gauge the incidence of the bacteria.” Like NDM-1, Klebsiella pneumoniae can “devour a class of antibiotics that infectious disease specialists keep in reserve for the toughest cases,” Smith says, once again prompting a discussion among health experts about the overuse of antibiotics. When Klebsiella first emerged, fewer than one percent of all infections carried the trait that allowed the bug to evade drugs, Smith says. Today, eight percent of the infections have the trait.
Deadly, Drug-Resistant, and Domestic
Oct 11, 2010