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New superbug hits mainland

[ 2010-10-27 13:01]     字号 [] [] []  
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There is no connection between the death of an 83-year-old man and the new superbug NDM-1, health officials said on Tuesday.

He was one of the first three people infected with the superbug on the Chinese mainland.

The Ministry of Health and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the man from East China's Fujian province died of lung cancer in June.

Two babies from Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, both born in early March at the same hospital, were also found to have the superbug.

They are now doing well at home after medical treatment, officials said.

It was the first time the new NDM-1 superbug, which is resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics, has been detected on the Chinese mainland.

"Currently, the NDM-1 superbug can only jump between different bacteria rather than people, and it happens mostly at medical institutions," said Ni Daxin, director of the unknown cause disease office of CDC.

So the possibility of widespread human infection outside hospitals remains slim and the public need not panic, he said.

He called for people to maintain good personal hygiene by washing their hands frequently, and adhere to the proper protocols while using antibiotics despite the fact that antibiotics overuse, if not abuse, is rampant here.

But he also conceded that more NDM-1 cases might remain undetected in the country due to limited surveillance capacity and relatively poor awareness.

To date, NDM-1, short for New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1, has been found mainly in Asian countries and regions such as India and Taiwan, and some western countries like Britain, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, the United States and Sweden.

In cases on the Chinese mainland, none of the infected have ever traveled to these areas, said Xu Jianguo, director of the infection prevention and control department of the CDC.

"But given rising international exchanges nowadays, whether the superbug came from outside or within the mainland is unclear," he said.

Currently, most of the bacteria carrying NDM-1 can be treated using a combination of different antibiotics, experts said. However, some fear NDM-1 could jump to other strains of multi-drug resistant bacteria.

This might produce dangerous infections that would spread rapidly from person to person and be almost impossible to treat, according to Ye Xiaoguang, an infectious disease expert with the Second Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University.

The elderly, the newborn and those who are hospitalized for long periods or take antibiotics frequently are at greater risk of superbug infection, he said.

Xu said the latest detection would at least help remind the Chinese public, including medical workers, of the severe consequences of antibiotic abuse.

The Ministry of Health has repeatedly issued guidelines for clinical doctors on the proper use of antibiotics and stepped up surveillance on drug resistance.

Early this month, it distributed nationwide guidelines urging full preparations at medical institutions for treating NDM-1.


1. How many are thought to have been infected with the new bug?

2. What is the formal name for the bug?

3. Where have all cases been contracted so far?


1. 3.

2. New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1.

3. In the hospital.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

New superbug hits mainland

New superbug hits mainland

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.