New superbugs spreading from India

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MRSA infections may be on the decline, but today scientists announced the apparent emergence of a new superbug. It seems to be spreading to Britain via patients who traveled from India and Pakistan.

The new superbug bacteria — members of the family Enterobacteriaceae, the family that includes salmonella and E. coli — carry a gene that makes them resistant to a wide number of drugs, including carbapenem antibiotics, generally considered an antibiotic of last resort. The human illnesses that these bacteria cause, therefore, are basically untreatable. Writing online today in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, a research team says that the “potential of [the drug-resistance gene] to be a worldwide public health problem is great.” But so far very few human infections have been confirmed.