Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.


The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Superbug from India is already in BC

A new “superbug” has already appeared in B.C., and could become a major health problem worldwide.

The bug is actually a gene that bacteria can pass along from one to another like a YouTube video clip. New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) creates an enzyme for the bacterium that makes it resistant to almost all antibiotics.

A report published on August 11 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases shows that NDM-1 has been carried around the world in the last two years by persons who spent time in Indian hospitals -- especially “medical tourists” who went there for cheap kidney transplants and cosmetic surgery.

NDM-1 has turned up in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, and Canada -- one patient in Alberta and another in B.C. The B.C. patient, according to a Globe and Mail report, contracted NDM-1 in India; in February she recovered in Vancouver with an effective mix of antibiotics.

A writer in the Guardian suggests that NDM-1 could mean the end of antibiotics, with transplant surgery becoming impossible, and pneumonia and tuberculosis becoming fatal again.

Meanwhile, the Indian government has strongly objected to placing the origin of the gene in New Delhi or anywhere else in India.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus