NEW DELHI: Two years after the NDM 1 superbug was first detected in the country, a new report suggests between 100- 200 million Indians might be carrying two deadly forms of superbug, ha-MRSA and ca-MRSA - said to be resistant to all available antibiotics, except for one that has never been tried, because of its potentially fatal side effects.
Published in the German news magazine 'Der Spiegel', the report claims India is responsible for the killer bacteria's spread in England.
So far no deaths have been reported due to this bacteria, but it's also been found in Germany, the US, the UK and Israel.
These new superbugs, ca-MRSA and ha-MRSA, are mutated forms of the MRSA bacteria, the biggest source of hospital infections in the US and the UK for decades. In fact, one of these strains attacks young, healthy people.
Dr Abhay Chowdhary, Director, Haffkines Research Institute, said, "The bacteria can spread through shared clothing or towels, or direct body contact, if a carrier has a cut, for example."
The British medical journal 'The Lancet' has commented saying that the new superbugs could spark off a "pandemic".
However, the Indian Council of Medical Research is denying the grave threat.
"MRSA are is all over the world. In fact, such strains were initially reported from western hospitals and appeared much later in our settings. ICMR does not wish to enter into unnecessary arguments about speculative numbers," read an ICMR statement.
The problem highlights the thriving indiscriminate overuse of antibiotics in India. A tenth of India's population could be carrying the fatal bacteria.
The NDM 1 Superbug and XXDR TB in Mumbai are just glaring examples that drug resistance is a grave threat to mankind.