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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 14:14 EDT

WHO Urges Monitoring Of New Superbug

August 21, 2010

A new superbug that is resistant to a host of drugs has surfaced in South Asia and as it began to spread the UN’s health agency on Friday called on health officials around the world to monitor the situation closely.

The World Health Organization said research published in The Lancet medical journal on August 11 identified a new gene that allows some types of bacteria to become highly resistant to nearly all antibiotics.

“While multi-drug resistant bacteria are not new and will continue to appear, this development requires monitoring and further study to understand the extent and modes of transmission, and to define the most effective measures for control,” the WHO said in a statement.

It underlined that the entire healthcare chain, including patients, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, and even veterinarians, needed “to be on alert to the problem of antimicrobial resistance and take appropriate” measures.

The UN health agency said that multi-drug resistant bacteria generally represents a “growing and global public health problem.”

Hospital infection control measures are important to limit the spread of such resistant strains and practical use of antibiotics to reduce the generation of resistant bacteria, it said.

Thorough use of such measures, including extensive hand washing in healthcare facilities, had proved to be a successful measure for controlling multi-drug resistant bacteria in many countries, according to the health agency.

The Lancet study said that the new class of superbug was carried from South Asia to Britain by plastic surgery patients.

Doctors from India had also warned earlier this year about the threat from a new multi-drug resistant superbug known as NDM-1. The warning came months before the Lancet study and said it could spread through patients worldwide.

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