ABR affects Non users as much as users of antibiotics

If you are not a frequent user of antibiotics, then ABR should not be a concern, correct? This is not true. In reality, ABR (antibiotic resistance) affects everyone—non-users and users of antibiotics alike. The biotechnical nature of ABR allows for a sharing of resistant traits amongst bacteria and populations of bacteria. In other words, ABR in bacteria elsewhere can exchange information through several pathways with bacteria that could ultimately affect you.

“Horizontal” transmission of ABR amongst bacteria is a common way for ABR to spread amongst bacteria and across bacterial populations. A study conducted by Cecilia Dahlberg et al of the University of California explored the mechanism in which bacteria transmit and receive genetic information. They found that bacteria could exchange segments of their DNA through a process termed conjugation *. Bacteria are able to transmit and receive plasmids (vehicles for DNA transport) that often carry sequences that code for antibiotic resistance. ABR can be exchanged between bacteria through this mechanism frequently. Furthermore, conjugation was observed to occur between different species of bacteria illustrating the robustness of ABR through this method of transmission *.

Mechanisms like conjugation enable the spread of ABR from populations of bacteria exposed to antibiotics to other populations of bacteria not necessarily exposed to the same environment. This means that ABR is an issue not limited to communities and environments surrounding frequent users of antibiotics—it affects everyone.

* Dahlberg, Cecilia, Maria Bergstro¨m,, Margit Andreasen, Bjarke B. Christensen, Søren Molin, and Malte Hermansson. “Interspecies Bacterial Conjugation by Plasmids from Marine Environments Visualized by Gfp Expression.” Oxford Journals. December 12, 1997. Accessed June 9, 2016.

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