Antibiotic resistance surges in dolphins, mirroring humans

phys.org | 5/3/2017 | Staff
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Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges in the world today since many common bacterial infections are developing resistance to the drugs once used to treat them, and new antibiotics aren't being developed fast enough to combat the problem.

Once primarily confined to health care settings, these resistant strains of bacteria are now commonly found in other places, especially marine environments. To date, few studies have looked at long-term trends in antibiotic resistance in pathogens isolated from wildlife populations.

Researchers - Florida - Atlantic - University - Harbor

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in collaboration with Georgia Aquarium , the Medical University of South Carolina and Colorado State University, conducted a unique, long-term study (2003 to 2015) of antibiotic resistance among pathogens isolated from bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Florida's Indian River Lagoon. This lagoon has a large coastal human population and significant environmental impacts.

"In 2009, we reported a high prevalence of antibiotic resistance in wild dolphins, which was unexpected," said Adam M. Schaefer, MPH, lead author and an epidemiologist at FAU's Harbor Branch. "Since then, we have been tracking changes over time and have found a significant increase in antibiotic resistance in isolates from these animals. This trend mirrors reports from human health care settings. Based on our findings, it is likely that these isolates from dolphins originated from a source where antibiotics are regularly used, potentially entering the marine environment through human activities or discharges from terrestrial sources."

13-years - Data - Multiple - Antibiotic - Resistance

Using 13-years of data and the Multiple Antibiotic Resistance (MAR) index, researchers obtained a total of 733 pathogen isolates from 171 individual bottlenose dolphins. Several of the organisms isolated from these animals are important human pathogens.

Results of the study, published in the journal Aquatic Mammals, shows that the overall prevalence of resistance to at least one antibiotic for the 733 isolates was 88.2 percent. The...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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