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A new superbug that is resistant to all antibiotics has been brought into Britain by patients having surgery abroad, Government scientists said.Doctors are urged to be vigilent for a new bug that has arriving in Britain with patients who have travelled to India and Pakistan for cosmetic surgery or organ transplants and is now circulating here.
So far there have been 22 cases in 17 hospitals Britain and the Health Protection Agency has said its emergence here is a 'major concern'.The HPA has found the enzyme that destroys antibiotics in patients with infections caused by E.coli and other bacteria.The enzyme, called New Delhi Metallo-1, has so far been found attached to bacteria that has caused urinary tract infections and respiratory infections.
It is of particular concern because it can jump from one strain of bacteria to another meaning it could attach itself to more dangerous infections that can cause severe illnesses and blood poisoning making them almost impossible to treat.
From swine flu to pneumonic plague - with E.coli in the mix - microbes have been making the headlines. Are they getting the better of us?
Whether it's flesh-eating necrotising fasciitis or equine morbillivirus, in which the sufferer essentially drowns in fluid leaking from the lungs, infections - be they bacterial or viral - capture the imagination in a way that more workaday conditions such as cancer and heart disease cannot.
And indeed our battle to outwit the bacteria which have caused death and decimation down the centuries has revealed just what a formidable foe they can be.
They have been around some three billion years longer than we have, and are adept at changing and adapting to their circumstances.