What is NDM-1?

NDM-1 stands for New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1. It is a type of beta-lactamase, an enzyme that inactivates certain antibiotics (those of the beta-lactam class). The concern with NDM-1 is that it inactivates carbapenem antibiotics, an important class of drugs that is often used to treat serious and life-threatening infections.

Where is it a problem?

  • It’s currently mainly a problem in India and Pakistan.

Will is spread to other regions?
Probably. It’s easy for people to travel around the world quickly, and it’s easy for new microorganisms to travel with them. A bug that originates in one region can very easily spread across the planet. NDM-1 has been found in a few other countries, including Australia, parts of Europe and Canada. There is concern that the increase in health tourism (traveling to countries like India for cheap and quick procedures like elective surgeries) will result in spread of NDM-1, since people could pick up the bug in hospitals and bring them home. Transmission of NDM-1 in hospitals from patients that had healthcare procedures abroad has been documented in the UK. People traveling to regions where the organism is present for other reasons are also possible sources.