August 25, 2011
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in EU countries
Unidentified bacteria that are resistant to any form of antibiotics have been found in the udders of cows in England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany.
But so far, there is no way to establish how many cows in the huge, unaccounted and unorganised dairy sector in India are afflicted by this bacterial type that can easily be transferred from cows to humans.
According to researchers from University of Cambridge's Veterinary School (which first found the mutant strain and published it in a journal on infectious diseases in Lancet on June 3) and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (which decoded all of the genes in the bacteria's DNA), the infection caused by this bacteria is not fatal but could pose a public health hazard if it spreads.
Globally, scientists have not yet found a method to detect this bacterial type; nor do they know to what extent the global cattle population is affected by them.
Dr VVS Suryanarayana, principal scientist, Molecular Virology Lab, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Bangalore, who is currently engaged in developing tests for detection of mastitis (a bacterial infection occurring in the cows' udders), told DNA: "If such bacteria enter our cattle stock, it will be disastrous."