Wed, Oct 06, 2010 - Page 2 News List

MOFA advises Taiwanese in India about superbug

Staff Writer, with CNA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday urged Taiwanese visiting India to remain alert to the danger of being infected by drug-resistant bacteria carrying the NDM-1 gene.

MOFA said Taiwanese citizens who are in India for business or pleasure should pay special attention to disease prevention if they need to be treated at a hospital.

The ministry warning came after Taiwan reported its first superbug case on Monday — a cameraman for cable TV news station TVBS who contracted the disease while being treated in an Indian hospital after being shot during a visit to New Delhi last month. He was -confirmed as having a bacterium carrying the NDM-1 gene on Monday, but has not shown any symptoms yet.

The Centers for Centers Disease Control (CDC) listed NDM-1, short for New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-1, as a notifiable disease last month.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said on the legislative floor yesterday that the ministry would consider raising the level of travel alert for India and Pakistan because of concerns of NDM-1 infections. Currently, India is placed in the “yellow-alert” category — the second lowest level in the travel alert chart — while certain parts of India, including its border with Pakistan, Mumbai and northern Indian states, are included in the “orange” level category.

The ministry said Taiwanese citizens traveling to India who need any assistance should use the -emergency number 9810-502-610 to contact Taiwan’s representative office there. It also advised Taiwanese nationals to closely follow news about the superbug by frequently logging onto the CDC’s Web site or calling the CDC for advice in case they require medical care in India.

The CDC has required local hospitals to immediately report any suspected cases of the superbug, especially those in which the patient has received medical treatment in India or Pakistan.

Additional reporting by Flora Wang

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