‘Superbugs’ Kill India’s Babies and Pose an Overseas Threat

DEC. 3, 2014

JP-NEWBORNS-master675A mother nursing her newborn at a hospital in Haryana, where almost every baby born in hospitals in recent years has been injected with antibiotics. CreditKuni Takahashi for The New York Times

AMRAVATI, India — A deadly epidemic that could have global implications is quietly sweepingIndia, and among its many victims are tens of thousands of newborns dying because once-miraculous cures no longer work.

These infants are born with bacterial infections that are resistant to most known antibiotics, and more than58,000 died last year as a result, a recent study found. While that is still a fraction of the nearly 800,000newborns who die annually in India, Indian pediatricians say that the rising toll of resistant infections could soon swamp efforts to improve India’s abysmal infant death rate. Nearly a third of the world’s newborn deaths occur in India.

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