“The implications are unclear — researchers did not look for whole living bacteria, just for dead fragments of their genetic material — but experts are concerned. Superbugs have developed resistance to almost every kind of antibiotic. They are building resistance faster than science can create new drugs. Many of them are deadly.
“Timothy LaPara and a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, testing water pouring from a modern water treatment facility in Duluth, found genes of drug-resistant bacteria in the discharge. Most American cities do not have facilities as good as Duluth’s, but no one knows for sure how much worse the situation may be at those facilities because it has not been measured.
“This is not a trivial thing to miss,” said Ellen Silbergeld, professor and editor-in-chief of Environmental Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Silbergeld said LaPara shows the situation is more troubling than many had thought.
“The best-known superbug is MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which even has been found in the locker room of a National Football League team but usually picked up in hospitals. It is sometimes defeated by massive doses of multiple antibiotics, but not always.
“A new superbug, Clostridium difficile, which can cause a fatal colon inflammation, now is on the rise. Two antibiotics work for that bug most — but not all — of the time. A quarter of patients relapse and some will die.”
Read more: MedicalXpress