New superbug ‘potentially a major global health problem’

Lesley Ciarula Taylor
August 12, 2010

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At least two Canadians have been infected by a new superbug that defies treatment and could spread rapidly around the world, a leading Canadian medical microbiologist says.

Both Canadians, one in Alberta and one in B.C. infected by the antibiotic-resistant NDM-1 have recovered but, “we don’t know if the infection will come back,” Dr. Johann Pitout of the University of Calgary told the Star on Wednesday.

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What scientists do know about this new discovery, reported Wednesday in LancetEND, is that it starts with a new gene, NDM-1, that secretes an enzyme that blocks almost all antibiotics from fighting certain bacteria, including the common E coli.

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