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"We have a vested interest in sorting out sanitation problems in India," Toleman said, adding the West should invest more money in clean water projects in Asia. "Otherwise (superbugs) could filter out from Asia and will spread through the world."
Other experts weren't sure how prevalent the NDM-1 gene would become but were preparing for the worst.
"It's like asking in the 1980s if a few HIV cases should be a big worry," said Guenael Rodier, director of communicable diseases at the World Health Organization's office in Copenhagen. "The fact that (NDM-1) has emerged is worrisome, but forecasting what it will do is very difficult."
He explained that was because resistant strains sometimes mysteriously disappear.
In an accompanying commentary, microbiologist Mohd Shahid of India's Aligarh Muslim University wrote that more studies are needed in India to assess how threatening the superbug problem is.
"The potential for wider international spread ... is real and should not be ignored," he wrote.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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