SuperBug Maker Infects First USA Cat

This is a slightly disturbing story about a substance called an enyme that makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics. In other words it is a sort of superbug maker. I feel that this piece of news picked up by Google News is unfair on the domestic cat.

Evening at Chandni Chawk, New Delhi

New Delhi street scene. Photo: Denharsh.com

This mysterious substance is believed to originate in New Delhi, the capital of India which is why it was named NDM-1 (New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1). I won’t attempt to go into the chemistry.

The first case of it, in 2008, concerned a man of Indian origin living in Sweden. He had travelled to India and picked it up there at a hospital. He was hospitalised on his return to Sweden. We don’t know what happened to him. The matter has become political because people are saying that Indian hospitals are spreading the enzyme.

Since 2008 NDM-1 has been found in people in the UK and three in the USA. But what I find a little upsetting is the way the news is presented on the Medical Daily website:

Indian Superbug Found in First Domestic Cat in US, Makes Carrier Resistant to Virtually All Antibiotics

It implies that a cat has been infected by a superbug and that the bug can be transmitted to people because people are frequently in contact with their cat, kissing their cat etc.

The author says that this development – the first cat to be carrying this enzyme – is “worrisome”. They say it is a catastrophe in the making. The article almost implies that your cat can kill you indirectly. But is it really that bad? Is it a health problem at all?

What does it all mean, if anything? This substance NDM-1 has been around since 2008. Only three people are known to carry NDM-1. But the author says that there are so symptoms.

It all sounds very vague and mysterious. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to articles that malign the domestic cat. I always feel the need to come to the cat’s defence.

In this instance I believe the writer of the Medical Daily article could have written a more balanced article that did not spread what is in effect propaganda that may hurt the domestic cat’s status in society. There are already enough people who use toxoplasmosis to argue their case to kill and criticize the cat. Are we going to see people use NDM-1 in the same way?

This is a link to the original story. It is a bit technical but the headline is sensationalistic.

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SuperBug Maker Infects First USA Cat — 1 Comment

  1. I really hope what you predict doesn’t happen. I don’t know why people go for the toxoplasmosis argument so much when its so small and meaningless when put in the context of other carriers of it and ways you can get it. People are almost superstitious when it comes to cats. Yet I find a dog to be generally a much more dirty animal. I would be far more afraid to catch something from dirt brought in by a dag. Both are minimal though. People look at the possibility of a cat bringing a disease along and suddenly its all a complete disaster. Why is that? I just don’t get it. Look at Australia and what that continent has been through due to humans bringing things there. Cats are not significant on that list of animals and plants. If they would bother to go around testing rabbits and toads and goodness knows what else, maybe they would find the same NDM-1 in those animals. It just so happens that some people love cats and get them tested if they become ill. If a cat had it, then it only follows than other animals can get it. So lets hope that it doesnt become like the toxoplasmosis thing where people only focus on the cats having it and not all those animals that live in our garden and in or around our houses.

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