Holy sites ‘may offer clues to antibiotic resistance

Anti-Microbial Resistance(AMR) Study Report says Mass-bathing in the Ganga during pilgrimages may be contributing to anti-microbial resistance.
Travel can be pointed to as one of the reasons for the rise of antibiotic resistance. How large gatherings of people could become hotspots for the spread of the genes that cause resistance.

Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is controlled by naturally occurring genes. These genes are found on plasmids, small rings of DNA that are separate from chromosomes.

Plasmids can move easily between bacteria, allowing them to acquire traits, such as antibiotic resistance, very quickly.

Many people have some organisms in their gut that contain these genes. Generally, these do not affect a person until they take certain antibiotics.

Summary:

When the amount of human waste entering the river rises , the resistant organisms in people’s guts can be washed into the river in faeces.
The faecal organisms tend not to live very long, but the plasmids that carry antibiotic resistance genes can be quickly transferred to other organisms in the river.

This increases the probability that people will ingest bacteria with antibiotic resistant genes when they drink or bathe in the water.

Once they are exposed, they can then carry them back to their own towns and cities in their gut – carrying antibiotic resistance genes to the wider world.

Significance:

The spread of the antibiotic resistance genes adds to existing health concerns. This study is important in tackling the spread of antibiotic resistance. They could provide clues to the mechanisms behind its spread.
Research helps in understanding the importance of the environment in evolution of antimicrobial resistance.

 

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