Delhi virus hits 9 in South Africa

A "superbug" virus first detected in Delhi in 2009 has affected nine people at a South African hospital, even as three among them have been put under strict surveillance in a quarantined ward.

The superbug New Delhi Metallo-Beta-Lactamose (NDM1) is resistant even to last-resort antibiotics called carbapenems.

The bug appeared at Life Glynnwood Hospital in Benoni several weeks ago, the daily The Star reported, adding that three people were still under strict surveillance in a quarantined ward at the hospital, while four have been discharged.

Hospital staff and relatives of the patients who were quarantined have been tested for infection as well.

The head of the outbreak response unit for hospital infections at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Professor Adrian Duse, told the daily that the local source of the infection was still not known.

Medical experts said the deaths of two people who contracted the infection were not because of the bug.

NDM1 bacterial strain is found in E coli and in Klebsiella pneumoniae and live in the gastrointestinal tract, affecting a patient's lungs and urinary tract.

The strain impacts on the body's ability to heal itself. NDM1 was first detected in New Delhi, India, in 2009.

Later cases were found in the UK, the US, Canada and Pakistan.

In Africa, the bacteria were found in Kenya and Morocco.

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