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Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Delhi - Superbug debate

Indian health authorities have slammed a report in a foreign journal that said water in parts of Delhi contain bacteria that is resistant to all types of antibiotics. The Health Ministry has asked people not to panic over reports of presence of drug-resistant bacteria in the public water supply of the capital, stating that it is a global issue not specific to any one country.

A British study, which detected multidrug-resistant bacteria in water samples from Delhi, has stirred a controversy with Indian health officials questioning its motives.

"I have not read the report so I wouldn't comment. It is present everywhere not only in water. There is no need to panic," Secretary, Department of Health , Research V M Katoch said.

Even though the medical journal that published the scientific story apologized for naming the superbug after New Delhi, the scientists who reported it are clear that they will not change its name.

India had earlier protested against the naming of the bug after its capital, saying the research was not supported by scientific data.

A separate study conducted by the government in the last two years, based on the stool samples of 1944 pregnant women at Ganga Ram hospital in Delhi found that all microbes in the samples were sensitive to carbepenams, the highest form of anti-biotics. This means the presence of superbug is ruled out, a health ministry executive said.

The ministry has also asked several hospitals in the country to monitor the usage of anti-biotics and the government is the process of finalising a comprehensive anti-biotic policy to prevent misuse of the medicine.

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