Coming as an unexpected find, researchers discovered a rare, antibiotics resistant bacteria in pigs raised in a United States farm.
A study on the matter has been carried out by a team of Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine researchers. Thomas Wittum, a professor of the said University and study co-author went to offer details.
The research results were published earlier this week in the Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy journal.
According to Wittum, one of the issues caused by this antibiotics resistant bacteria is its origin. Currently, this is the first and only such case registered in the United States.
The antibiotics resistant bacteria is the carrier of a rare gene. This gene helps its host surpass carbapenems.
Carbapenems are an antibiotics class used as a sort of last resort. They are usually used in cases where all other drugs have failed to have an effect.
With the rare gene being located in plasmids, this also means that it can be transmitted in between species. Plasmids are transmittable pieces of DNA.
Such antibiotics resistant germs have come to be known as CRE. CRE translates into carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.
Although the transmittable CRE were detected to inhabit the farm’s pigs, there still are some good news. Tests have shown that the pigs scheduled for slaughter are antibiotics resistant virus-free.
Additional tests also seem to indicate that the bacteria has not spread to other of the pigs raised on the farm.
The study co-author, Wittum, went to express some of the researchers’ concerns as to the detection of the CRE in the pigs.
According to him, they will be trying to determine how the pigs came to carry the respective bacteria. They will also be seeking to stop any and all potential animal to human transmissions.
Although no evidence of such an occurrence has been found, the researchers still were concerned.
The CRE bacteria can lead to different reactions in humans. As a healthy person will most probably register no health change, CRE may seriously affect sick people.
As the antibiotics resistant bacteria infects sick people, it can cause even more serious health problems. Reports show that almost half of the sick patients that develop CRE bloodstream infections die.
The resulting serious consequences related to CRE bloodstream infections may be caused by their transmittable nature.
With the antibiotics resistance being potentially transmitted to other bacteria types, such an infection could favor even more dangerous microbes.
According to Wittum, CRE can become a reservoir for other pathogens such as salmonella. One of the most important causes of concern determined by the bacteria is its resistance to carbapenems.
Carbapenems are considered to be some of the most important antibiotics as they are usually the last resort in saving lives.
The antibiotics resistant bacteria defeat the carbapenems thanks to an enzyme that it produces. This enzyme is capable of breaking down the antibiotics.
Wittum pointed out that this is an extremely rare occurrence. The United States registered only two previous such cases, which only appeared for just a few times at a global level.
One of the other surprising elements of the CRE pig detection, which occurred in 2015, is its location. Carbapenems are not used when treating animals. As such, a bacteria resistant to them is not likely to have developed naturally.
This has led the researchers to the belief that the CRE must have been introduced to the farm from the outside, through human movements. The bacteria was mostly found in the pigs’ surrounding areas.
As the current antibiotics resistant bacteria problem has been isolated, Wittum states that more research will be carried out. Current and future research will seek to prevent human or animal to animal transmission of such bacteria.
They will also be looking to improve management practices, antibiotics practices and alternatives, and vaccination, to state just a few.
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