Superbugs are hitchhiking in the guts of international travelers


California News Times

Jun 7, 2021


According to a study published in Genome Medicine, overseas travelers may pick up bacteria and other vectors that contain genes that confer antimicrobial resistance.


A team of researchers at the University of Washington in the United States and Maastricht University in the Netherlands investigated the presence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes. By analyzing fecal samples of 190 Dutch travelers before and after trips to destinations in North Africa, East Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.  Gut microbiota includes bacteria and other organisms that live in the human digestive tract. Participants and their samples were taken from a subset of data from a large COMBAT study that AMR is also investigating. The AMR gene has occurred naturally in bacteria for thousands of years when exposed to antibiotics naturally produced by a small number of environmental bacteria, but of antibiotics in human medicine and animal agriculture. Abuse and misuse are accelerating the process. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria do not respond to treatment with antibiotics that have acquired resistance.


The authors found an increase in the amount and diversity of the AMR gene in the fecal samples of travelers returning from abroad.).


The authors identified the AMR gene in the sample by matching it to a database of known AMR genes using a metagenomic sequence of the faecal microflora. They also identified new AMR genes by testing whether they could acquire new resistance to antibiotics when the samples were added to the E. coli host...


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