When it comes to antimicrobial resistance, watch out for wildlife | Science News

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When it comes to antimicrobial resistance, watch out for wildlife

Bacterial genes that best drugs, disinfectants turning up in guts of all sorts of animals

By
7:05pm, August 16, 2016
Northern elephant seals

WATCH FOR WILDLIFE  Northern elephant seals in California are some of the diverse wild animals that researchers have found with microbes carrying genes for resisting drugs and disinfectants.

It’s time to go wild studying antimicrobial resistance, a research team says.

Most analyses of how microbes come to laugh off the drugs and disinfectants that should kill them have focused on people in hospitals or livestock on farms, says behavioral ecologist Kathryn Arnold of the University of York in England. Yet a growing number of studies — in crows, elephant seals, voles and other wild animals — are raising big questions about where wildlife fits into the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance. Genes for resistance are showing up in microbes flourishing in the guts and other parts of wild animals. How those genes get there and where they might go now needs serious attention, Arnold and colleagues argue August 17 in a Biology Letters review of wildlife-related papers.

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