SOURCE: Health Options Worldwide

medical travel, medical tourism, domestic healthcare marketplace, healthoptionsworldwide.com

September 15, 2010 17:30 ET

The Drug-Resistant Medical Travel NDM-1 "Superbug" Is Growing, Says Online Medical Tourism Agency Health Options Worldwide (HOW), www.healthoptionsworldwide.com

PRINCETON, NJ--(Marketwire - September 15, 2010) - As reported in August of this year, the NDM-1 "Superbug," a plasmid that is spread from person to person via hand to mouth contamination, arose as a result of medical tourism. Now, this drug-resistant gene has been reported in cases in California, Illinois, and Massachusetts, in three American patients, as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Medical tourism involves American patients traveling domestically or to other countries, such as India, to get inexpensive surgery," explained David Goldstein, President of Health Options Worldwide (HOW), an online medical tourism agency. "However, now these patients are bringing back diseases that can not be cured with antibiotics."

This "superbug" is under intense scrutiny and research and is causing great concern in scientists. However, this should not cause any panic, just yet. "We've dealt with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria for decades in our own hospitals -- it's even recently resurfaced in gyms," explained Goldstein, "However, this bacteria is treatable, and the panic around it has been more dangerous than the actual risk from the bacteria." Currently, all three patients have recovered well from the bacteria.

The "superbug" invades the intestine and causes diarrhea or urinary tract infections as a bacterium that has now acquired the drug-resistant gene, NDM-1. The gene creates a carbapenem-destroying enzyme, which is the key antibiotic weapon against these bacteria, making them very challenging to treat. "There are currently no drugs in clinical trials that work against NDM-1 but there are some promising antibiotics in early stages of development," said Goldstein, whose agency enables users to anonymously search healthcare providers worldwide offering fixed rates for treatments, domestically and worldwide.

"This why we at HOW promote domestic medical tourism because these 'superbugs' are non-issues in the U.S.," said Goldstein. While Goldstein does acknowledge that overseas hospitals and doctors may be well qualified, but they do have the same health standards and regulations as American hospitals and doctors.

"With rigorous medical regulations and legal protection, the patient is well-protected domestically, so there is no need to travel anywhere else for affordable healthcare, especially since American healthcare providers are lowering their prices in order to compete in this emerging market," concluded Goldstein. "The results could mean lower prices, quality healthcare and less threats of 'superbugs' without leaving the country."

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