Roads play major role in spread of antibiotic resistant superbugs

A new study has revealed that roads play a major role in the spread or contamination of antibiotic resistant bacteria, commonly known as superbugs, as roads facilitate easy movement of people to and from places that are well connected.

Researchers at the U-M SPH and colleagues from Universidad San Francisco de Quito and Trinity College studied a region in northwest Ecuador for five years, concentrating on antibiotic resistant E.coli and the common antibiotic paring of ampicillin and sulfamethoxazole.

“Our results show it’s not just the individual’s antibiotic use that affects antibiotic resistance,” Joe Eisenberg, the co-author of the study said.

“Other important factors that affect the spread of antibiotic resistance are the rates at which people introduce new strains due to movement in and out of the region, as well as poor water quality and sanitation that allow for the transmission of antibiotic resistant strains.

“We focus so much on the individual, and if they do or don’t take antibiotics, but we’re learning more and more that there’s a broader environmental and social context in which antibiotic resistance happens,” he added.

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