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article imageSoil studies reveal rise in antibiotic resistance

By Bob Ewing     Dec 26, 2009 in Environment
A study by Newcastle University scientists has found antibiotic resistance in the natural environment is rising despite.
This rise, the University press release says, is taking place despite tighter controls over our use of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture.
Newcastle University’s Professor David Graham is quoted as saying, “Over the last few decades there has been growing concern about increasing antibiotic resistance and the threat it poses to our health, which is best evidenced by MRSA. Despite increasingly stringent controls on our use of antibiotics, the background level of antibiotic resistant genes, which are markers for potential resistance, continues to rise in soils.”
Graham added, “This increases the chances of a resistant gene in a harmless bacteria being passed onto a disease-causing pathogen, such as a MRSA, with obvious consequences.”
The study was recently published the academic journal Environmental Science and Technology,
Bacterial DNA was extracted from soil samples collected between 1940 and 2008. The samples have revealed a rise in background levels of antibiotic resistant genes.
Graham is also quoted as saying, “The big question is that with more stringent European regulations and greater emphasis on conservative antibiotic use in agriculture and medicine, why are antibiotic resistant gene levels still rising?”
“Whatever the cause, this rise suggests an ever increasing risk of resistant genes being passed from environmental organisms to organisms of greater health concern.”
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