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Flies are spreading antibiotic resistance in china

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    Posted: February 09 2017 at 2:10pm

Flies are spreading antibiotic resistance from farms to people

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Public health concern

Kim Wolhuter/National Geographic Creative

GENES that enable bacteria to resist our most crucial antibiotics have been found in bacteria on farms in China, and are being spread by flies.

Carbapenem antibiotics are often used as a last resort for resistant bacterial infections. When these fail, one of the few options left is colistin. But carbapenem resistance is spreading, and colistin resistance was discovered in China in 2015.

Tonnes of antibiotics are used as growth promoters on farms in China. Now a study has found that a third of Escherichia coli bacteria sampled from chicken farms and meat in shops in China resisted carbapenems, and a quarter of those also resisted colistin

The study also found such bacteria in flies at chicken farms. Bacterial DNA from farms, flies and human patients was similar enough to suggest flies are spreading resistance from farms to people (Nature Microbiologydoi.org/bzd3).

This is an immense public health concern, says the team.

This article appeared in print under the headline “Resistance in flies”

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