No superbug hazard: Health ministry

April 11th, 2011 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) There is no major health threat by the presence of a multi-drug resistant bacteria in Delhi’s environment, the union health ministry said Monday, even as a prestigious medical journal accused the Indian government of “suppressing the truth” about the presence of the superbug.

“We have rejected it and we still reject it,” Director General Health Service R. K. Srivastava told IANS.

However, he said that a final statement can be made only after the research wing of the health ministry (Indian Council of Medical Research) completes its study.

“The research wing will examine every thing, the protocol and the method of research, all will be examined and only after that, a final statement can be given by the concerned authorities,” he said.

Days after health ministry rejected the study on the presence of the superbug in Delhi’s environment, published in British journal The Lancet, study co-author Mark Toleman accused the government of India of “suppressing the truth”.

The study, published last week, said the New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1) gene, which makes bacteria resistant to an array of antibiotics, including the most powerful ones, has been found in open water pools, water from overflowing sewage and even a couple of drinking water samples in the Indian capital.

The health ministry, however, said such bacteria existed all over the world and the study was targeting India.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit also reiterated Monday that water in the city was safe for drinking and there was nothing to panic about.

“Please don’t spread panic when there is no panic. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has been saying and I think Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has said that this is not so and water is safe for drinking,” Dikshit told reporters here.

DJB CEO Ramesh Negi said the water quality in the city meets the official standards.

“We are testing the water as per the Bureau of India Standard (BIS) standard and we are following it. Delhi’s water is safe for drinking and quoting the same (Lancet) study, it says chances of this bacteria growing in this water is very less,” he said.

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