Monday, 16 September 2019

Antibiotic resistance rising among dolphins, study reveals

Research in Florida finds 88% of samples have pathogen that resists at least one antibiotic

Gregory Robinson

Sun 15 Sep 2019 16.00 BST Last modified on Sun 15 Sep 2019 19.50 BST

Antibiotic resistance is rising in dolphins, researchers have said, mirroring the trend seen in humans.

Scientists examined disease-causing organisms, or pathogens, found in samples from the blowholes, gastric fluid and faeces of bottlenose dolphins from the Indian River Lagoon in Florida. The samples were collected between 2003 and 2015.

The area has a large human population on the coast and significant environmental problems. “They include septic tanks, runoff from the land, freshwater discharge from canals, to name a few,” said Adam Schaefer of Florida Atlantic University, the study’s lead author.

Of the 733 samples from 171 dolphins analysed, 88% contained a pathogen resistant to at least one antibiotic. The antibiotic to which the pathogens were most commonly resistant was erythromycin, which is commonly used to treat chest infections, acne and sexually transmitted infections including chlamydia and syphilis.

Resistance to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin among E coli pathogens more than doubled over the period studied, mirroring trends in human infections.

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