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New Drug-Resistant 'Superbug' Reaches U.S. Shores
Date:9/15/2010

from their infections, but Kallen couldn't say how many.

In the United States, three cases have been reported. They were in Massachusetts, Illinois and California, Kallen said. None of the U.S. patients died from their infections, he said.

While NDM-1 is new, carbapenem resistance has been increasing, Kallen said.

How dangerous NDM-1 will become isn't known, Kallen said. But some studies have found the death rate from KPC [the North American bacterium] to be as high as 40 percent, he said.

Most of the transmission of the NDM-1 (Indian) and the KPC (North American) bacteria happen as infected people travel around the world, Kallen added. "These people carry with them all their antibiotic-resistant bacteria and that mechanism [travel] has been recognized lots of times, including with NDM-1 and KPC," he said.

Kallen said routine testing can reveal bacteria resistance. "As far as treating the patient or infection control, it doesn't matter what the mechanism is -- they're all bad and they all need to be controlled in the same way," he said.

Hospitals that identify cases of NDM-1 or KPC infection should isolate the patient before treatment. Hospitals should also check to see if other patients have had contact with infected patients.

One of the most common ways that bacteria become resistant to antibiotics is through the overuse of the drugs, Kallen noted.

Infectious diseases expert Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University in New York City, said that "the number of [NDM-1] cases is small, but what is concerning about this is this is a new bacteria that is emerging because of a genetic change that is causing a garden-variety bacteria to become resistant to most antibiotics."

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are emerging because of lack of cleanliness and sterility in hospitals, too many antibiotics being prescribed, and drug companies not developing new antibiotics because they aren't pr
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