Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - In Google Play
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - On the App Store
Tags: India | superbugs

'Superbugs' Killing Newborns in India Threaten World Epidemic

Friday, 05 December 2014 11:55 AM EST

Tens of thousands of newborn children are dying every year in India as an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” sweeps the country while also threatening the United States and the rest of the world.

Indian pediatricians are overwhelmed by the increasing toll of infant deaths from powerful bacterial infections resistant to once-miraculous modern medicines, which numbered 58,000 last year, according to The New York Times.

A third of the world’s newborn deaths occur in India, with an overall total of 800,000 babies dying in 2013 alone in a country where hundreds of millions live in abject poverty and in unsanitary conditions.

“India’s dreadful sanitation, uncontrolled use of antibiotics and overcrowding coupled with a complete lack of monitoring the problem has created a tsunami of antibiotic resistance that is reaching just about every country in the world,” said Dr. Timothy  Walsh, a professor of microbiology at Cardiff University in the UK.

The Times reported that researchers have already discovered that so-called “superbugs” carrying a genetic code first identified in India — NDM1 or New Delhi metallo-beta lactamase 1 — are appearing in cases all over the world, including in France, Japan, Oman and the United States.

The potential pandemic is being linked by scientists to the increasing bacteria in India that can be found in the water, sewage, animals, soil and even in mothers, which are immune to nearly all antibiotics and result in the high rate of infant mortality.

“Reducing newborn deaths in India is one of the most important public health priorities in the world, and this will require treating an increasing number of neonates who have sepsis and pneumonia,” said Dr. Vinod Paul, chief of pediatrics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the leader of the study.

“But if resistant infections keep growing, that progress could slow, stop or even reverse itself. And that would be a disaster for not only India but the entire world.”

And Dr. Neelam Kler, chairwoman of the department of neonatology at New Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said: “Five years ago, we almost never saw these kinds of infections. Now, close to 100 percent of the babies referred to us have multi-drug resistant infections. It’s scary.”

Bacteria spreads easily in India because half of the country’s 1.2 billion population defecate outdoors, and the sewage generated by people who use toilets is often untreated. As a result, Indians have one of the highest rates of bacterial infections on earth and use more antibiotics, which are sold over the counter, than any other country, the Times said.

In the United Sates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated last year that 2 million people are sickened by resistant bacteria every year, with 23,000 dying as a result.

Although the use of antibiotics plunged in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010, there has been a vast increase in antibiotics usage by developing countries, with global sales rising 36 percent in the same time frame, according to the Times.

Two thirds of that increase was accounted for by sales in India, Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa. In India specifically, most doctors’ incomes come from drug sales.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Tens of thousands of newborn children are dying every year in India as an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” sweeps the country while also threatening the United States and the rest of the world.
India, superbugs
Friday, 05 December 2014 11:55 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved