WHO to help India probe superbug’s threat (Lead)

April 14th, 2011 - 11:09 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) Thursday said it will assist India in studying whether a multi-drug resistant superbug alleged to be present in Delhi’s water, is a health threat.

“The WHO will be assisting Indian government in the research on whether the superbug is a health threat or not,” the agency’s country representative and spokesperson, Nata Menabde told reporters here.

“We do not question the finding of the report (published in British journal The Lancet), the question is what it means for public health, that implication has to be taken suitably. The findings of the study had nothing new,” she said talking on sidelines of a press conference here.

Menabde agreed to the point made by health ministry that similar bacteria were present in many parts of the world.

“Several studies have shown, in many parts of world, this does not mean it is a risk to public health,” she said.

“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”.

The Lancet, in a report last week, said that NDM-1, a bacteria with multi-drug resistant gene, was found in sewage and drinking water samples in a study done in the city.

India has steadfastly maintained that the capital’s drinking water is safe, and questioned the credibility of the study.

Menabde said that its presence in water of Delhi should not be a problem because the water chlorinization standards in the metropolitan city were as per the WHO standards.

“The public health implications need to be studied, but there should not be scaremongering. We will help government reach a conclusion,” she said.

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