Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, Superbugs, Are Endangering Dolphins

Nowadays, antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant public health concern around the world. Due to the reckless use of antibiotics, common bacteria turned into antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as superbugs. Now, these organisms are endangering dolphins, too.

Lately, many studies on superbugs emerged. The conclusion of them is that the reckless use of antibiotics, fueled by a widespread prescription of these drugs, caused the appearance of superbugs. Common bacteria became antibiotic-resistant bacteria, threatening humans because these microorganisms don’t anymore respond to the standard treatment.

Scientists from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Georgia Aquarium, the Medical University of South Carolina, and Colorado State University gathered to conduct a five-year-long study on how antibiotic-resistant bacteria are endangering dolphins.

The researchers carried on their study on the dolphins at Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, a region that presents a large coastal human population that causes a considerable environmental impact.

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Are Endangering Dolphins

“In 2009, we reported a high prevalence of antibiotic resistance in wild dolphins, which was unexpected. Since then, we have been tracking changes over time and have found a significant increase in antibiotic resistance in isolates from these animals,” explained Adam M. Schaefer, the study’s leading author.

Adam Schaefer added that the “isolates from dolphins originated from a source where antibiotics are regularly used.” As he continued, they enter the marine ecosystem due to human activity in the affected areas.

The outcomes of the new research, released in the journal Aquatic Mammals, revealed that out of the more than 700 isolates tested, the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria was of about 88 percent. Resistance to erythromycin, ampicillin, and cephalothin was the highest.

According to the research, the human activity, more specifically the resistance to antibiotics, is also threatening other mammals. Due to the reckless use of those drugs, we’ve created antibiotic-resistant bacteria (superbugs) that are now endangering dolphins, too.

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