First NDM-1 superbug case confirmed in Ontario
Published Saturday, August 21, 2010 5:23PM EDT
Ontario has seen its first confirmed case of a drug-resistant superbug that is beginning to gain worldwide attention.
Laboratory tests have confirmed that a female patient who was treated at the William Osler Health System facility in Brampton had been infected with the so-called NDM-1 superbug.
The patient is no longer in hospital.
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care spokesperson Joanne Woodward Fraser told CTV.ca that the ministry is aware of the case and that "the emergence of NDM-1 was not unexpected."
Fraser said the patient in Brampton is the first confirmed case in Ontario. Other NDM-1 cases have been reported in Alberta and B.C.
Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said the patient "likely" acquired the infection in India after receiving medical treatment there.
In a telephone interview Saturday with CTV News Channel, King said the patient was treated with multiple rounds of antibiotics, but it is unclear if the infection cleared up on its own or with treatment.
She said so far, the only known risk factor for NDM-1 is "receiving care in a health-care facility in either India or Pakistan," and there is no evidence the superbug has ever been transmitted within Ontario. However, the general public is advised to follow infection-control practices such as hand-washing.
A recent report in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases suggests that bacteria carrying the NDM-1 gene are highly resistant to antibiotics. The gene is already prevalent in India and Pakistan, and has been found in dozens of patients in the U.K. who travelled to those two countries for medical care.
King said officials in Ontario are monitoring for NDM-1 and other antibiotic-resistant infections, which will help with international monitoring efforts.
With files from The Canadian Press