Expatriate medical insurance policyholders who travel between India, Pakistan and the UK may be spreading bacteria which is resistant to antibiotics, research has suggested.
A clinical paper published in medical journal the Lancet reported cases where bacteria that creates an enzyme called New Delhi metallo- β-lactamase 1 (NDM-1) are being brought into the UK by expatriates and other travellers who have had surgery in India or Pakistan.
Some 50 patients have already been identified as carrying the 'superbug', the researchers from Cardiff University and the Health Protection Agency explained.
Dr Johann Pitout of the University of Calgary in Canada, who wrote a commentary on the article, advised travellers who have been hospitalised in the sub-continent and become ill after they return home to let a healthcare professional know where they have been.
He also warned against the practice of medical tourism, stating that while this may be seen as a cheaper quick fix, the cost to an individual's health may be greater than foreseen.
Such a move "might ultimately cost the NHS substantially more than the short-term saving and we would strongly advise against such proposals", he added.
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