When Rivers Become Reservoirs of Antibiotic Resistance: Industrial Effluents and Gene Nurseries
McArthur, J. Vaun
Tuckfield, R. Cary
Lindell, Angela H.
MetadataShow full item record
Industrially polluted streams and rivers are of great concern to public health officials and environmental regulators. A lesser known problem is that some water resources have become reservoirs of antibiotic resistance genes that can, under natural conditions, be transferred to water-borne pathogens. The current opinion in the scientific community is that the rapid and continuing increase in antibiotic resistance found in clinical settings is caused by the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture. We present here a summary of studies, primarily at the Savannah River Site (South Carolina), that demonstrate that bacteria exposed to heavy metal pollution show elevated levels of antibiotic resistance (AR) and multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR) without ever being directly exposed to antibiotics