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A Clemson University professor's research has documented the movement of antibiotic resistance in humans into animal species.
College of Science researcher Vincent Richards recently published results that draw attention to reverse zoonosis, or pathogens moving from human populations to animals.
Year - Tens - Thousands - Americans - Variety
Every year, tens of thousands of Americans get sick from a variety of diseases contracted from animals. Known as zoonotic diseases, these infections are transmitted through food, water or direct contact with the animals. They include salmonella, E. coli, anthrax and cat scratch disease, to name a few.
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other health agencies keep tabs on animal-to-human diseases, there's a dearth of knowledge about reverse zoonosis.
Richards - Humans - Genes - Overuse - Abuse
According to Richards, humans have acquired antibiotic-resistant genes, most likely through the overuse and abuse of prescription antibiotic drugs.
"I found actual cases of transmission of these antibiotic resistance genes from humans into livestock, companion animals and wildlife," said Richards, who speculates that the genetic material was transmitted via animal handling or through wastewater runoff.
Richards - Findings - Article - Population - Gene
Richards reported these findings in an article titled "Population gene introgression and high genome plasticity for the zoonotic pathogen Streptococcus agalactiae," which was recently published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.
In the study, he and his collaborators analyzed a global set of 901 genome sequences of the bacteria Streptococcus agalactiae (also known as group B Strep) from nine different host species—humans, cows, dogs, fish, frogs, gray seals, dolphins, goats and a camel—to better understand the transmission process. Streptococcus agalactiae can cause life-threatening illnesses like meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis in newborn babies. In addition, the bacterium is a leading cause of bovine mastitis, an inflammatory disease that limits milk production in dairy cows.
Things - Bacteria - Host - Range
"One of the things that makes the bacteria so interesting is its wide host range," said...
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