Antibiotic resistance surges in dolphins, mirroring humans, Here’s everything you want to know


Researchers have found out that resistance to antibiotics has been rising amongst dolphins. It mirrors the trend seen in humans. With a lot of ongoing discussions about similarities in humans and dolphins, this is an interesting insight that could help a lot in further research.

Scientists have discovered this while analyzing disease-causing organisms, or pathogens, seen in samples from the blowholes, gastric fluid, and feces of bottlenose dolphins from the Indian River Lagoon in Florida. The samples were reported to be collected between the years 2003 and 2015.

The place has a huge human population on the side of the coast. It is also troubled by a lot of environmental issues as well. “There are septic tanks, a pathway from the land, freshwater release from canals, to cite a few,” said Adam Schaefer of Florida Atlantic University who is also the leader of the research.

Antibiotic resistance surges in dolphins, mirroring humans, Here's everything you want to know
Antibiotic resistance surges in dolphins, mirroring humans, Here’s everything you want to know

Seven-Thirty-Three samples from one-seventy-one dolphins were analyzed. 88% had a pathogen that was capable of resisting a minimum of one antibiotic, according to Schaefer.

Conclusions of the research, which can be seen in the journal Aquatic Mammals, shows that the overall levels of resistance to at least one antibiotic for the Seven-Thirty-Three isolates was 88.2 percent. The prevalence of resistance was found to the highest to erythromycin (91.6 percent), followed by ampicillin (77.3 percent) and cephalothin (61.7 percent).

Every year in the United States, close to 2 million people suffer from an antibiotic-resistant infection, and over 23,000 people die.

Tyler Harrington, FAU’s Harbor Branch; Patricia A. Fair, Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina; and John S. Reif, Ph.D., Colorado State University were the co-authors of the research.

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The research was supported in part by the Protect Wild Dolphin License Plate funds given through the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation and Georgia Aquarium.


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