You’ve probably been hearing about superbugs for a while, ”infective microorganisms resistant to antibiotics.” A number of extremely common bacteria have transmogrified into superbugs, including e. Coli, salmonella, and staphylococcus. Without effective antibiotics, the resistant strains of these otherwise treatable infections can be difficult to treat. Technically, NDM-1 isn’t a superbug but a mechanism that enables less potent bacteria to become super. “Superbug” is used to describe both the enzymes and the bacteria involved in resistance.
NDM-1 is short for New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase. The condition bears the name of the capital of India because it was first discovered there, in 2009. “Metallo-beta-lactamase” is the DNA code for the enzyme that transmits the antibiotic resistance to various bacteria. “Beta-lactam” refers to a class of antibiotics that are generally effective against a wide range of infections.
So far, NDM-1 has been found in strains of e. Coli and others. Three cases have been reported in the United States. What’s the cause, and how can it be prevented? Some medical experts say that the over-use of antibiotics causes relatively treatable infections to develop resistance. Unsanitary conditions in hospitals are a likely culprit. The best solution may be old-fashioned hygiene.