Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Delhi in the news for the wrong reasons ..

First New Delhi was infamous for rape, then it was for corruption and now it is for a superbug ..

NDM-1, New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase I has hit the world scene bringing disrepute to India. As the co-author Mark Toleman of Cardifff University, in the article that appeared in The Lancet claims, it is the general lack of basic hygiene and the unregulated use of anti-biotics by the population that is seen as the main reasons for the emergence of the supergene. Does that anyway give scientists and the editorial board of Lancet to defame other cities and countries of the world ?

The authors of the paper which appeared in the very respected medical journal The Lancet in April 2011 had detected the supergene in samples of drinking and seepage water in Delhi. as per research evidence available till date, this supergene is a hospital-borne infection and not water-borne. It was very much against ethical research on the part of Toleman to name it after New Delhi as if Delhi is the most unhealthiest place in the world, or was the first place in the world to detect a supergene. MRSA ( Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) was the first supergene to be detected and causes almost 20,000 deaths in US alone every year. Nobody named that supergene after New York or Washington DC !!

Another contention against naming the supergene after New Delhi is that only 20% in our country can actually afford antibiotics. The critical mass needed in a population for the superbug to emerge from overuse or wrong use of antibiotics is much higher than this percentage.

Toleman claims he does not know much about the origin of NDM-I supergene. Even then to name it after a city infers some mischief played by Toleman and his team to defame a country or its people.

If one were to look objectively at facts, one can understand that it is indeed a wakeup call for Indians to get out of their slumber, care for the cleanliness of one's surroundings and the environment. I recollect an IIMA professor once writing, we Indians are privately smart and publicly dumb, meaning to say that we take care of our immediate surroundings, home etc, but care least for public places and our neighbourhood areas which remain as dirty and filthy as ever ..

ge.. (with inputs from Internet, TOI and The Hindu..)

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