A gene that can turn many types of bacteria into deadly superbugs was found in about a quarter of water samples taken from drinking supplies and puddles on the streets of New Delhi, according to a new study.
Experts say it's the latest proof that the new drug-resistance gene, known as NDM-1, named for New Delhi, is widely circulating in the environment — and could potentially spread to the rest of the world.
Bacteria armed with this gene can only be treated with a couple of highly toxic and expensive antibiotics. Since it was first identified in 2008, it has popped up in a number of countries, including the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada and Sweden.
Most of those infections were in people who had recently traveled to or had medical procedures in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.
"This is not a problem that is looming in the future ... there are people dying today from infections that can't be treated," said David Heymann, chairman of Britain's Health Protection Agency. He was not linked to the research.
This news came on top of a recent study published in PloS Medicine showing that the macroeconomic growth taking place in India has done little to lower the country's high level of child malnutrition.
We failed to find consistent evidence that economic growth leads to reduction in childhood undernutrition in India. Direct investments in appropriate health interventions may be necessary to reduce childhood undernutrition in India.