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Continuing my theme of reasons why you shouldn’t fall ill under any circumstances, at least with an illness that might require a stay in hospital, here’s today’s news. A new superbug that makes MRSA and C. diff look like minor ailments has hit UK hospitals, according to most of the main news providers (via a report in The Lancet Infection Diseases). That’ll put you off getting that ingrowing toenail fixed, won’t it?

But, joking apart, it does seem like a cause for concern. The bug, NDM-1 (short for New Delhi-Metallo-1 –  remember the name, you could be hearing a lot more about it soon), makes even the most powerful antibiotics powerless, apparently. There have been about 50 cases diagnosed so far in the UK, with the bug already passed from patient to patient, but given that it’s almost impossible to treat, experts fear it will soon spread.

NDM-1 is actually an enzyme that can exist inside different types of bacteria, making them resistant to a group of powerful antibiotics called carbapenems – these are usually the last line of defence against particularly hard-to-treat infections. So the question is, will scientists be able to develop newer, stronger drugs to act against NDM-1 before the whole thing becomes the next global epidemic (which is what some news sources are suggesting)?

NDM-1 infections have allegedly been reported in other countries including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the US and Canada, as well as places closer to home like the Netherlands. How it got here, suggest experts from the Health Protection Agency and Cardiff University, is via people having treatments such as cosmetic surgery, transplants and cancer treatments abroad.

So as they say, as one door closes, another opens. The swine flu pandemic was declared over yesterday, and hey presto, up pops the threat of NDM-1. Well it’s a great excuse for staying healthy (and, as I have already mentioned, out of hospital). Riskfactorphobes, you have been warned.