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Super pathogens found in one of the most remote areas in the world
So-called super-pathogens pose an enormous threat to humanity as a whole. Researchers have now discovered bacteria that resist some of mankind's most powerful antibiotics in one of the world's most isolated and isolated areas, the Arctic. This suggests that even the last untouched areas of the world are already populated by super-pathogens.
In their current study, scientists from Newcastle University found that so-called super-pathogens are already present in the most remote places in the world. The researchers published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Environment International".
BlaNDM-1 found in the Arctic
Soil samples for the detection of bacteria, which came from the region of Kongsfjorden, were tested positive for so-called resistance genes, which were first observed in India in 2008 and are very rare outside of hospitals. The spread of the genes, known as blaNDM-1, is closely monitored worldwide because they allow bacteria to become resistant to certain forms of antibiotics known as carbapenems. According to the experts, this pollution of the environment was probably caused by migratory birds or human visitors to the region.
Antibiotic resistance is a global problem
The polar regions are one of the last untouched ecosystems on earth, says study author Professor David Graham from Newcastle University. But less than three years after the first discovery of the blaNDM-1 gene in the surface waters of urban India, the scientists find the genes thousands of kilometers away in an area where humans have minimal presence. The evidence in areas such as the Arctic makes it clear how quickly and far-reaching the spread of antibiotic resistance is. Solutions to combat antibiotic resistance must be viewed globally, not just locally, say the doctors.
Humans accelerate the development of the bacterial immune system
Some experts have already warned that increasing antibiotic resistance is a global health emergency that is more serious than climate change or world wars. The development of the bacterial immune system is accelerated by the inappropriate use of antibiotics. For example, they are often used in viral infections where the medication has no effect and in livestock farming, where the medication used spreads into the environment through waste water.
More than 131 antibiotic resistance genes have been identified
The current study used 40 soil samples from eight locations, in which more than 131 antibiotic resistance genes were detected. These were directed against some of the major classes of antibiotics used around the world to fight infections and make minor operations safer. For example, a gene was found in all samples that caused resistance to several active substances in tuberculosis pathogens. The author blaNDM-1 was detected in more than 60 percent of the soil cores of the study, study author Professor Graham adds. These findings have an enormous impact on the worldwide spread of antibiotic resistance. (as)