Killer bug investigated: report

By Drum Digital
26 September 2012

The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) is investigating a deadly superbug which has killed five people since August, according to a report on Wednesday.

The Times reported that an 82-year-old woman died from the New Delhimetallo betalactamase-1 (NDM-1) bacteria last month after spending seven weeks at Cosmos Hospital in Witbank battling pneumonia.

Life Healthcare's Cosmos Hospital recorded the first NDM-1 infections last month, and said there was no cause for concern.

Spokeswoman Dr Julie MacLiam said the health department and the institute were investigating.

"There is no crisis. According to the NICD, while the bacteria is highly resistant and there are limited treatment options, NDM-1 may be detected in persons within hospitals without being the cause of illness," she told the newspaper.

The institute warned last year that the spread of micro-organisms carrying NDM-1 had become a major global health problem.

Professor John Frean, the institute's microbiology deputy director, said NDM-1 was highly resistant to antibiotics.

Frean said symptoms included bacterial-induced septicaemia, with patients developing abscesses, organ failure and pneumonia.

Frean said there was a high mortality rate associated with NDM-1.

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