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Antibiotic Resistance Can Spread Through the Air

There is an abundance of literature on how microbes can obtain antibiotic resistance, but not as much about how antibiotic resistance can spread. Jonathan drew my attention to this article today, which highlights the fact that antibiotic resistance can be spread through the air. While I didn’t find the conclusions all that surprising, I was a little bit terrified to know that antibiotic resistance can spread miles, if not hundreds of miles, from where the antibiotics were used. Where there is DNA, there can be antibiotic resistance. What other vehicles does DNA have to spread around our world (wind, water, soil, people, animals, etc)? As someone who lives in very close proximity to many farms, I am regrettably ignorant about antibiotic use around me and what ramifications it can or will have on my health. Does anyone else have similar concerns?


Katherine Dahlhausen

Katie Dahlhausen is a PhD student in Jonathan Eisen’s lab and is interested in the biogeography and mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. Find out more at her Twitter feed .

2 thoughts on “Antibiotic Resistance Can Spread Through the Air

  1. Dear Dahlhausen..

    Its an interesting arguments on “How the antibiotic resistance can widespread in the air”. Even me to have similar questions in my mind for a long time. But some how i understood that bacterial DNA are more sensitive to chemicals (antibiotics, etc) which will undergo self modification according to environment. The next argument about the source of antibiotic is elaborated in many studies. The antibiotic resistant is not only from the drugs substance in the environment. Even other chemical pollutant like Aromatic hydrocarbons, Phenolic derivative compound also induce the resistant character in Bacterial genome.

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