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Posted by on Aug 16, 2010 in Health care, Infectious diseases

Indian Superbug Underscores Risks of Medical Tourism

Indian Superbug Underscores Risks of Medical Tourism


Last week’s report of a beta-lactam-resistant superbug in the United Kingdom,* which was likely imported from India, highlights the infectious risks associated with medical tourism, according to an accompanying editorial. The growing trend of traveling to get medical care in non-Western countriesparticularly for procedures not covered by insurance (eg, gastric bypass)is expected to grow in India at an annual rate of 30%, says a 2009 news report. By 2015, medical tourism in India will be a 95-billion-rupee or $2-billion industry (if I’m calculating correctly).

At least one Indian doctor is accusing the report’s corresponding author, who happens to be from the UK, of fear mongering and racism (despite the fact that multiple nationalities are represented by the listed investigators).

* Specifically Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli containing New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1.

Scanning electron micrograph of E. coli bacterium from CDC/Janice Haney Carr.

bmartin (1130 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.