WHO Will Assist Indian Officials In Exploring Threat Of NDM-1 In Water Supply

The WHO has said it will assist government officials evaluating whether the presence of bacteria containing the NDM-1 gene in the water supply in New Delhi poses health risks, Agence France-Presse reports. The announcement comes after the Lancet last week published a report that bacteria carrying NDM-1, a gene that enables resistance to a variety of antibiotics, “was found in 51 out of 171 New Delhi samples taken from water pools and two out of 50 tap water samples,” the news service writes (4/14).

“We will be assisting Indian government in the research on whether the superbug is a health threat or not,” WHO Country Representative Nata Menabde said, according to the Times of India. Menabde noted that while the WHO was not challenging the Lance report, “[w]hether or not it’s a public health threat needs to be established through research,” she said (Sinha, 4/15).

Although the Delhi government has expressed confidence in the safety of the water supply in the capital, they recently began distributing “free chlorine tablets to people as a precautionary measure against water-borne diseases,” PTI/The Hindu reports (4/14). Health officials also advised people to boil water, AFP/Calgary Herald adds (4/14).