Last night, prompted by Michael Coston’s excellent primer on NDM-1 (one of a set of short courses he publishes periodically), I scrolled through the literature to see what had happened recently with the spread of the “Indian superbug” — actually a gene and enzyme that were first spotted in 2008 and create resistance to almost all antibiotics. (My past posts on NDM-1, going back several years, are here.)
There was a lot to see: Cases in countries as varied as Belgium, Japan, Oman, Singapore and China. Indications that transmission of NDM-1, which at first indicated some travel or family connection to South Asia, has become a pan-European problem with clusters in several countries. Concern that international travelers are transporting bacteria containing the gene without realizing it. And, disappointingly, reassurances from within India, in a new study, that it can “easily combat” NDM-1 — though the fact that a study was conducted, as opposed to the problem just being denied out of existence, must be an encouraging sign.
That tour through the literature made me curious what has been happening in the United States since NDM-1 was first identified in patients here two years ago this week, and I made a note to check when I got back to work today. And then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forestalled me, by announcing this morning that there have been 13 cases in the United States so far — including two in which the infection apparently spread within the same hospital.