What is NDM-1?

NDM1 Global ThreatNew Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase, or NDM-1 is an enzyme that if found in common bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and k. pneumonia. Virulent and resistant to most antibiotics, the threat that NDM-1 poses to the world is quite serious and the situation could prove to be devastating. The prediction of millions dying across the globe from this nasty superbug is unfortunately nothing from a sci-fi flick, but a very real possibility.

A pandemic outbreak is not a far fetched possibility, but a real one. This possibility is becoming more and more credible due to the fact that there is currently no known antibiotics that can stand up against this superbug. A last resort and often last hope antibiotic, carbapenem. is administered to patients when only the toughest antibiotic will work. Unfortunately, NDM-1 is completely resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. This is leaving scientists scratching their heads and working overtime to come up with a new antibiotic that will work. While the world waits and hopes that there is a super antibiotic developed to squash the superbug NDM-1, scientists admit that there is nothing on the horizon that looks promising.

Where Did NDM-1 Come From?

According to British scientists, the origins of NDM-1 is India, NDM-1 or New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase is appropriately named after the capital city of India. British medical professionals believe that the superbug was acquired when people traveled abroad for surgeries; mostly cosmetic procedures, in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

NDM-1 has been confirmed in over 50 individuals within the United Kingdom. Of the fifty confirmed cases, all had recently visited India, Pakistan or Bangladesh for surgical procedures.

NDM-1 has also been identified in Canada, the United States, Australia and the Netherlands.

What Are the Symptoms of NDM-1?

Possibly the most terrifying attribute to the superbug NDM-1 is its remarkable ability to attach itself to a variety of bacteria hosts and still yet crosses over to other bacteria that is present. This is not only a characteristic that is rather unique, but a deadly characteristic as well because this silent superbug is able to perfectly mimic the symptoms that the common bacteria would cause.

For instance, E. coli is the leading cause of urinary tract infections. Were a person with a UTI to also be invaded by the superbug NDM-1, their symptoms would not change. The UTI would continue on with its normal symptoms of burning during urination, back pain, etc. The only difference that would be notable is the resistance that the urinary tract infection would have to antibiotics that would normally clear up a UTI. Only then would it be likely that doctors would become concerned and NDM-1 would probably be discovered. Unfortunately by this time, many others would have been unknowingly infected.

Who is at Risk of contracting NDM-1?

Those most likely to be infected with the NDM-1 enzyme are people who have traveled to high risk areas; especially hospitals in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Being in close contact with those who have recently traveled to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is also considered high risk. Medical professionals believe individuals with weakened immune systems are in at a higher risk of being infected with NDM-1 as well.

What Precautions Should Be Taken to Protect Yourself and Your Family From NDM-1?

First of all, do not visit areas that are known to be more heavily infected. Avoid traveling in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. If possible, stay within your home country until this possible epidemic is under control. Secondly, avoid any unnecessary surgeries or being inside hospitals in general; especially in India and areas where NDM-1 is known to be widespread. While it is unlikely that you would get NDM-1 in hospitals that are not located in heavily infected areas, it is possible. Last, but certainly not least hygiene should be of the upmost important. Keep your general surroundings and home clean. Wash your hands and your children's hands regularly. Pay special attention to small children who are likely to place things into their mouth. Remember, NDM-1 thrives by attaching itself to host bacteria. Eliminating as much of the bacteria in your home is the number one most important thing that you can do to protect yourself and your family from this superbug. When cleaning, use a disinfectant such as diluted bleach to clean surface areas like countertops, kitchen floors, tables, and bathrooms. Make certain you clean up after your pets and bathe them adequately since they may innocently spread E. coli throughout your home, preparing the ideal breading ground for NDM-1.