AN increasingly drug-resistant deadly super-bug originating in India has infected an estimated 5,000 Aussies.
The Bengal Bay clone -a strain of MRSA – has mutated to such an extent that it is now not treatable with antibiotics and is thought to be the cause of thousands of blood infections.
The killer clone is so strong it can even strike down someone in peak health, experts say.
The clone was first discovered in India in the 1990s after it struck down several people across the huge subcontinent.
The bug, which can be deadly if it enters the bloodstream through a cut, caused widespread panic as it threatened to jump from patient to patient.
Shockingly, the mortality rate is around 25 per cent.
Many sufferers can carry the symptom-less MRSA in their bloodstream, spreading it via skin-to-skin contact without realising.
Professor Tong, a Royal Melbourne Hospital Clinician Researcher said: “These community clones tended to be more virulent with the ability to cause severe disease in otherwise young, healthy individuals.
“But thankfully, the community clones have typically been resistant to fewer antibiotics.
“The Bengal Bay clone combines a high level of both antibiotic resistance and virulence.”
Tong added: “We have already seen two documented cases of the Bengal Bay clone in neonatal intensive care units.”
These are thought to be in Europe.
The professor’s research found that antibiotic-resistant bugs can thrive in areas of the world – like 1990s India – with limited public health infrastructure.
A lack of control of antibiotic use can ensure the clone develops a strong resistance before spreading to all corners of the globe.