Antibiotic resistance airborne



Do you live near a cattle farm feedlot? Well beware.  New studies conducted by the Texas Tech University (TTU) concluded that feedlots found on cattle farms that are full of antibiotics could be responsible for the transmission of superbugs through the air over long distances to urban settlements.
The research was conducted at various farms in Southern high Plains in Texas.  Air samples were collected at open-air cattle farm’s feedlots and the finding are shocking.  The scientists found that the air around these farms contained large amounts of bacteria, antibiotics and most shocking of all, a genetic code that leads to humans becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Researchers concluded that the study delivers scientific evidence, about how the farms that use antibiotics in the feed that is given to their livestock, contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance to humans.  Greg Mayer, study co-author and associate professor at TTU, stated that the implications for the spread of feedlot-derived antibiotic resistant bacteria to urban areas were extremely important to the research.

But, the study is limited by various factors. For example, researchers stated that they weren’t able to determine precisely whether the genetic material related to antibiotic-resistance presented a danger to humans. Still, the findings give extra info about the routes antibiotic-resistant bacteria, normally known as superbugs, travel long distance to infect areas inhabited by humans.

Lead author and researcher at the TTU’s Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Phil Smith, stated that the latest findings indicated that one of the primary sources of superbugs among people were cattle farms using to much antibiotics. As background information, the researchers reported that 70 percent of antibiotics are used by the cattle ranchers.  Earlier research studies have shown that bacteria easily share their antibiotic-resistant genetic material with other species including humans, but the current study explains how the bacteria are spread.

TTU researchers elaborated on the means. They found that the bacteria found in feedlot dust were carried away by the wind on long distances. During their trip the bacteria usually have to fight the antibiotics that are also present in the dust particles. So, they develop extra resistance to antibiotics mutating into superbugs as they multiply.

The antibiotics and bacteria found in the feedlot dust are spread over hundreds of miles by the wind. Any city or town that crosses path with it is a target.  The people in these cities or towns are infected with the drug-resistant bacteria.

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