Research papers on New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase (NDM-1) provoked considerable but very different media coverage in the United Kingdom (UK) and India. We describe how the media represented this research using qualitative thematic analysis of contemporary coverage by daily newspapers in the UK and India. Fifty-four UK and 187 Indian articles mentioned NDM-1, describing it as the 'new super superbug' resistant to most antibiotics. They emphasised the role of medical tourism to the Indian subcontinent. In both countries, blame was framed abstractly as arising from the general misuse of antibiotics. In India, controversy about using New Delhi to name the organism dominated coverage, with officials seeking to discredit the two studies and media coverage characterised by denial and outrage, developing into theories of conspiracies to undermine tourism. Researchers must seek to anticipate the way that their work may be reported and proactively engage with the media to maximise the public health impact of their findings.
- antimicrobial resistance
- media coverage