Comprehensive Approach Critical To Reducing Evolution, Spread Of Antibiotic Resistance

The Conversation: Antibiotic resistant ‘superbug’ genes found in the High Arctic
David W. Graham, professor of ecosystems engineering at Newcastle University

“…Antibiotic resistance has now been found in remote parts of the world where humans and antibiotics are scarce or absent. … It’s unclear whether it’s a single migration via a bird or a human, or a chain reaction of exposures. By whatever pathway, resistance genes are moving fast and to places where antibiotics are not present. … If resistance genes migrate via humans or wildlife to other locations, especially places with inadequate local sanitation, such genes and bacterial hosts might be selected in subsequent human and wildlife populations. This is what we think is happening worldwide. These genes move around the world with people and other animals, seeding new places with resistance potential. … [F]ocusing efforts on developing new arsenals of antibiotic drugs may not be enough. It additionally would be wise for wealthier countries to help poorer ones improve water quality and sanitation, even if it is only providing toilets to reduce open defecation. Smarter use of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine is a necessary step for tackling resistance, but only a comprehensive approach will reduce the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance” (1/29).