Israel's 1st superbug case reported from India-returned woman

Doctors at the Sheba hospital near Tel Aviv said they have detected signs of the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1, commonly known as NDM-1, in the patient who was reportedly hospitalised in New Delhi for five days after she fell sick.

Following the doctors' claim, Israel Health Ministry's special unit for antibiotic-resistant infections has ordered all hospitals to test any patient who had received healthcare in India, since 2008.

"The patient was hospitalised for five days in New Delhi and was transferred to Israel during the course of her treatment," Professor Gila Rahav of the hospital's infectious diseases unit, where the bug was discovered, said.

"She has been placed under strict quarantine and all the departmental staff and other patients there have been tested for the bug", Rahav said.

Months earlier, a medical journal 'Lancet' had claimed the hospital-acquired superbug, which is similar to bacteria commonly found in human intestine, cannot be treated using existing drugs and is spreading from India to the rest of the world.

The article created a controversy, with India denying that foreigners treated in the country had developed immunity to antibiotics due to indiscriminate use of drugs.
"The enzyme is found on a section of the stomach virus' genetic matter, and it can disperse any medication that binds to the virus, including penicillin and other antibiotics," Yehuda Carmeli, head of the Health Ministry's department for control of epidemic diseases and head of the epidemiology unit at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, told a newsdaily Ha'aretz.

"This resistant form of bacteria is very significant, as once it has entered the body, it is almost impossible to treat," Carmeli said adding, "as far as we can tell, it is transmitted from person to person, which is why it was decided to isolate the patient".

The health ministry said in a statement that it was well equipped to deal with all forms of infection but advised increased vigilance among medical staff.

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