Human Bacterial Resistence Genes Confirmed In Crows, Gulls, Flies, Seawater, More [View all]
n addition to crows, resistance genes have been detected in gulls, houseflies, moths, foxes, frogs, sharks and whales, as well as in sand and coastal water samples from California and Washington.
The spread to wildlife is “an indicator of the wide-reaching scale of the problem. Microbes connect the planet,” said Lance Price, a professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University. “The danger is that we enter a post-antibiotic era in which even our last-line drugs won’t work and routine infections become life-threatening,” he said.
While antibiotics have revolutionized medicine in less than 100 years, antibiotic-producing bacteria have existed in nature for millions of years. Natural antibiotics likely evolved as weapons in a biological arms race between competing bacteria.
But the environmental drug resistance that Ellis and others are now seeing is different – it’s manmade. “What has changed is that we’ve placed great selective pressure on bacteria with our use of antibiotics,” said Ludek Zurek, a microbiologist at Kansas State University who participated in the crow study.