NEW DELHI: For the first time, doctors in India have documented a rare but exceedingly dangerous strain of bacteria that can cause death or lead to untreatable infection even in healthy persons.
Researchers at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, found that 36 per cent of the patients treated for sepsis in hospitals over a two-year period had been infected by a strain of klebsiella pneumonia. The strain is multi-drug resistant and hypervirulent, which means it can lead to various types of serious conditions.
Over 60 per cent of the patients infected with the super bug died within 30 days of the infection while the rest developed serious complications, including respiratory ailments. These findings have been published in the latest issue of the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India and are based on evaluation of bacterial infection in 86 patients who had come from various parts of the country.
“We have published the findings at great risk as it brings a bad name to the hospital and will potentially lead to panic among people. But we thought it was important to highlight the damage that the anti-microbial resistance is causing to public health,” Balaji Veeraraghavan, lead researcher of the study and a senior CMC doctor told this newspaper.
He said the super bug was first detected in a leading private hospital in New Delhi six years ago but the hospital chose against putting it on record.
Veeraraghavan also said that the super bug was causing death and diseases in possibly most other secondary and tertiary care centres in the country but was not being documented elsewhere.
Doctors found that the super bug infection was caused through faecal contamination and while 92 per cent of the super bug infections were health-care associated, the overall mortality rate was higher than previously described.“The combination of increased virulence and decreased susceptibility to antimicrobial is challenging to treat and results in worse outcomes,” the study noted.