Remember I told you that we were going to see more of NDM-1 in the US soon?

The poster’s first response was to advise not to travel outside of the US. I am going to politely disagree. I think NDM-1 is here, and brewing. I predict we will see the first US cases of it in the near future.

The CDC reported that the first cases in the U.S actually occurred back in June. So, when I said they were coming, they were actually already here. Interestingly, the three cases reported in the U.S. all involve different gram-negative organisms.  All are common gut bacteria (Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Enterobacter cloacae).

Let’s recap NDM-1 before going any further. NDM-1 is actually a  name for a conjugative plasmid (transferable genetic material) that contains genes that allow any bacteria receiving the NDM-1 plasmid to be resistant to all current antibiotics, except for one-aztreonam.

The scariest information from the CDC? All three bacteria that were NDM-1 positive  were also resistant to aztreonam. Uh-oh indeed. The gram-negative superbugs ARE here.

All three cases (one in California, one in Illinois and one in Massachusetts) were individuals who had received medical care in India in the last 6 months. However, now that the bacteria are here, they can be spread to anyone coming into contact with someone shedding the bacteria. Yes, by shedding I mean shedding in the fecal/oral sense.

So, the best way to try to stay safe? I am going to reverse my earlier post: Don’t get surgical procedures done abroad (especially India). Stay away from antibiotics (because those will allow a resistant organism to flourish in your gut and take away your healthy bacteria) , and WASH YOUR HANDS.

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