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Linking India to superbug unfair and wrong, says India

India Thursday termed as unfair and wrong linking a multiple drug-resistant superbug detected in Britain to India saying a number of such bacteria have also been reported from other countries. Health experts said it was politically motivated as Western doctors were alarmed at the prospect of losing business to India's booming health tourism.

"Several superbugs are surviving in nature and they have been reported from countries like Greece, Israel, the US, Britain, Brazil, Puerto Rico and many others and it is unfair to link the superbud to India," said V.M. Katoch, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

According to a report in a British scientific journal, a new superbug had been detected in at least 37 cases in Britain, mainly among patients who had travelled to India and Pakistan for cosmetic surgery, cancer treatment and transplants.

Scientists have warned that the superbug -- an enzyme they have called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 or NDM-1 -- could spread worldwide because it is resistant to almost all antibiotics and nothing has been developed to combat it.

When asked why it has been named New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1 or NDM-1, Katoch said it is a general trend to name the bacteria after the country from where the first strand of bacteria is reported and in this case it is India.

"It is a scientific study and has been (presented) wrongly by the media. There is no public health threat and no need to unnecessarily sensationalize it," he said.

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