Long distance travelers likely contributing to antibiotic resistance’s spread

Aug 24, 2015

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By American Society for Microbiology

Swedish exchange students who studied in India and in central Africa returned from their sojourns with an increased diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in their gut microbiomes. The research is published 10 August in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

In the study, the investigators found a 2.6-fold increase in genes encoding resistance to sulfonamide, a 7.7-fold increase in trimethoprim resistance genes, and a 2.6-fold increase in resistance to beta-lactams, all of this without any exposure to antibiotics among the 35 exchange students. These resistance genes were not particularly abundant in the students prior to their travels, but the increases are nonetheless quite significant.

The germ of the research was concern about the burgeoning increase in antibiotic resistance. “I am a physician specializing in infectious diseases, and I have seen antibiotics that I could safely rely on ten years ago being unable to cure my patients,” said principal investigator Anders Johansson, MD, PhD, Chief, Infection Control, Umeå University and the County Council of Våsterbotten, Sweden.

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One comment on “Long distance travelers likely contributing to antibiotic resistance’s spread”

  • Humans and human global transport systems, are spreading invasive species all over the planet at a prodigious rate.
    Why should antibiotic resistant pathogens, from areas of unregulated antibiotic use, be any different?

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