Plastic debris in rivers harbours specific types of bacteria that are potentially pathogenic and may act as reservoirs of antibiotic-resistance genes, according to a study published in Microbiome, which analysed samples collected from the River Sowe in the UK. This mixture of bacteria is different from that found in surrounding water, but similar to that found on wooden surfaces. The team, which includes a Spanish author, highlights the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter and Aeromonas bacteria.
A research team including scientists from the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Centro Tecnológico Agroalimentario de Lugo has analysed the presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria in 100 meat samples bought in supermarkets in Oviedo, Spain in 2020. The researchers found E. coli bacteria which produce enzymes that make the bacteria resistant to various types of antibiotics in more than half of the turkey (68 %) and chicken (56 %) samples, and less frequently in beef (16 %) and pork (12 %) samples. They also found E. coli bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections. The team presented these results at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), which is being held in Copenhagen, Denmark, until 18 April.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published a report with data reported by 87 countries in 2020 warning of increasing antibiotic resistance in bacterial infections in humans. The report shows resistance levels of more than 50 % in bacteria that frequently cause bloodstream infections in hospitals, such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter spp.
Bacterial infections were the second leading cause of death in 2019. This is according to research published in The Lancet, which estimates that one in eight deaths that year was associated with bacterial pathogens. Five of these - S. aureus, E. coli, S. pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa - accounted for more than half of all bacteria-related deaths.
The EMA's annual European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) report shows that sales of antibiotics for animal use have decreased by 47% between 2011 and 2021. In addition, sales of antibiotics considered "critically important" for use in humans have also decreased.