New bacterial strains that have developed resistance to antibiotics used to treat humans are increasingly showing up in dolphins and fish, posing a health risk that threatens the safety of global seafood supply according to a new study released Sunday.
The study, published in the journal Aquatic Mammals, looked for the presence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens among bottlenose dolphins in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon over a period of 12 years. The lagoon features a large coastal human population, which scientists said carries with it “significant environmental impacts.”
“In 2009, we reported a high prevalence of antibiotic resistance in wild dolphins, which was unexpected,” said Adam Schaefer, lead author and an epidemiologist at Florida Atlantic University. “Since then, we have been tracking changes over time and have found a significant increase in antibiotic resistance in isolates from these animals. This trend mirrors reports from human health care settings. Based on our findings, it is likely that these isolates from dolphins originated from a source where antibiotics are regularly used, potentially entering the marine environment through human activities or discharges from terrestrial sources.”
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