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NDM-1 (cont.)

Why Are Doctors and Researchers So Concerned About Bacteria With NDM-1?

Many medical caregivers and researchers are concerned about NDM-1 because it renders some of the most useful and powerful antibiotics (carbapenems) ineffective. These antibiotics are often the medications of choice for severe infections. In addition, since the blaNDM-1 gene that produces the enzyme is often associated with other genes that code for other antibiotic-resistance factors, they are concerned that such resistance will be quickly passed to most gram-negative bacteria, thus rendering a huge group of bacteria resistant to most of the currently used antibiotics. Although this spread is unlikely to be considered a pandemic like bird or swine flu, outbreaks of diseases caused by NDM-1 bacteria could result in high mortality. Researchers also are concerned that current antibiotic susceptibility tests often may take a minimum of two days to complete, which for a critically infected patient may be a long time to be treated with antibiotics that may not have the ability to inhibit or kill infecting bacteria.

The field of research on NDM-1 is extremely active at this time; there should be many developments in clinical diagnostic methods, antibiotic treatment plans, and antibiotics in the near future. Unfortunately, the number of people infected with and carrying NDM-1 bacteria is likely to increase rapidly; researchers plan to try to stay a step ahead of these potentially dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but there is no guarantee they will be successful. Prevention of infection is the best defense against these bacteria.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/28/2014

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