India water samples show lethal germ

Associated Press / April 7, 2011

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LONDON — A deadly germ was found in about a quarter of water samples from drinking supplies and puddles on the streets of New Delhi — the latest evidence the drug-resistant bacteria, NDM-1, is circulating widely and could spread to the rest of the world.

The superbug can be treated only with toxic, expensive antibiotics. Since it was identified in 2008, it has appeared in the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, and Sweden. Most of those infected had traveled to 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, of Britain’s Health Protection Agency.

Last fall, British scientists analyzed more than 200 water samples from New Delhi. They found the superbug gene in two drinking water samples and 51 street samples.

Since the bug was found in the United Kingdom last year, there have been about 70 cases of infection.

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