Low antibiotic levels in environment may spur resistance

Low antibiotic levels in environment may spur resistance

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A recent study is providing new evidence that low concentrations of antibiotics in the environment could be contributing to antibiotic resistance.Published in mBio, the study involving researchers from the University of Exeter, University of Hongkong and AstraZeneca showed that even when bacterial communities in wastewater are exposed to small amounts of the antibiotic cefotaxime, selection pressure for clinically important antibiotic-resistant genes occurs. They also found that the selection pressure for resistance may be just as strong as when exposed to high concentrations of the drug.
The findings suggest that environments that have trace amounts of antibiotics, such as hospital effluent and rivers and streams that receive wastewater, could be an important and overlooked breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
According to lead study author Aimee Murray, ‘the significance of this finding is that environments with very low antibiotic concentrations e.g. natural environments may be just as important in selection for antibiotic resistance as environments with very high antibiotic concentrations e.g. hospitals, and the human or animal gut during antibiotic therapy’.
The full story on the study is available on CIDRAP News, 24 July 2018. – Third World Network

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