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article imageDolphins are showing cases of antibiotic resistance

By Tim Sandle     Oct 1, 2019 in Science
Antibiotic resistance and the consequential enhanced risk to from pathogenic organisms is not only something that affects humans; other animals, such as dolphins, are equally impacted, according to new research.
The research is based on a thirteen-year assessment of antibiotic resistance trends in bottlenose dolphins, conducted by scientists based at Florida Atlantic University. This included a characterization of 733 pathogen isolates sampled from 171 individual wild Bottlenose dolphins. The researchers discovered a prevalence of resistance to at least one antibiotic was 88.2 percent for the sample group.
Samples of dolphins were taken via swabs from blowhole, gastric fluid and feces, and sent back to a microbiology laboratory for analysis. The research formed part of the Health and Environmental Risk Assessment project. All dolphins captured were released back into the Indian River Lagoon.
With specific antibiotics, resistance was greatest to erythromycin. This was followed by resistance to ampicillin and cephalothin. These patterns, remarkably, mirror what has taken place in human healthcare settings.
Antimicrobial resistance has a direct impact on human and animal health - due to the failure in the treatment of infectious diseases - but also carries a heavy economic cost.
It was noted that resistance to ciprofloxacin among Escherichia coli isolates more than doubled between sampling periods, reflecting recent trends in human clinical infections. Resistance pattern against another pathogen - Pseudomonas aeruginosa – also increased markedly.
In terms of how the bacteria came to be resistant, this is speculated to be from a source where antibiotics are regularly used and where factories, or other human activities, have led to the discarding antibiotics in such a way that they have ended up in the marine environment.
According to lead researcher Professor Gregory D. Bossart the results signify a growing concern with the rise in antimicrobial resistance : “Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant risks to public health. As resistance increases, the probability of successfully treating infections caused by common pathogens decreases.”
The research has been published in the journal Aquatic Mammals, with the research paper titled “Aquatic Temporal Changes in Antibiotic Resistance Among Bacteria Isolated from Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida, 2003-2015.” 
More about Dolphins, Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Microbiology
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