A brand-new study is indicating that dolphins are becoming resistant to antibiotics. One of the major concerns in the field of health is bacteria causing various infections are getting resistant to the drugs that are once used against it, since scientists cannot produce new antibiotics fast enough makes the problem worse. Scientists have started studying the effect of these in the wildlife.
A long-term study of antibiotic resistance among pathogens isolated from bottlenose dolphins in Florida Indian River Lagoon was conducted by researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in collaboration with Georgia Aquarium, the Medical University of South Carolina and Colorado State University. “In 2009, we reported a high prevalence of antibiotic resistance in wild dolphins, which was unexpected,” said Adam M. Schaefer, MPH, lead author, and an epidemiologist at FAU’s Harbor Branch. “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.”
The results published in aquatic Mammals show a prevalence of resistance to at least one antibiotic for 733 isolates was 88.2%. The resistance was highest in erythromycin then followed by ampicillin and cephalothin. “The Health and Environmental Risk Assessment or HERA Project has helped discover that the emerging bacterial resistance to antibiotics in bottlenose dolphins is prevalent. Bottlenose dolphins are a valuable sentinel species in helping us understand how this affects human and environmental health. Through HERA we’ve been able to provide a large database of information in order to continue learning from these impressive animals,” said Gregory D. Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., co-author, senior vice president and chief veterinary officer at Georgia Aquarium. “Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant risks to public health. As resistance increases, the probability of successfully treating infections caused by common pathogens decreases.”
Sampling takes place every year between June and July, these captured dolphins are released back to the river as part of the Hera project. People getting affected with antibiotic-resistant infection has increased over the years, about 23000 people die every year.