WHO to help India probe 'superbug': report

April 14, 2011

The World Health Organisation will help India study whether a multi-drug resistant "superbug" allegedly found in New Delhi's water poses a health risk, a report Thursday said.

The WHO "will be assisting Indian government in the research on whether the superbug is a health threat," country representative Nata Menabde said, according to India Abroad News Service.

The decision came after The reported last week deadly superbug NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1) was found in 51 out of 171 New Delhi samples taken from water pools and two out of 50 tap water samples.

"Nobody is contesting whether what Lancet has written, but we have to confront science through science. Whether or not it's a public heath threat needs to be established through research," Menabde was quoted as saying.

New Delhi officials have rejected the report of the drug-resistant "superbug" in the Indian capital's water supplies.

However, the Delhi government said on Wednesday it would distribute free chlorine tablets to people as a precautionary measure against water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea and advised people to boil water.

"There is no superbug in Delhi's water," said Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, dismissing the Lancet report. The water "is totally safe," she said.

But Indian media were sceptical about the government denial with the Mail Today newspaper on Thursday calling it a "super cover-up on ."

NDM-1 is a gene that enables some types of to be highly resistant to almost all antibiotics.

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