Researchers Studying how Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria are on Cape Cod Beaches

WOODS HOLE – Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a growing threat to human health and a doctoral candidate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography is studying how resistant bacteria are on Cape Cod beaches.

Humans consume large amounts of antibiotics when they are sick and 70 percent of all antibiotics are used to promote growth and prevent infections in farm animals.

The antibiotics and resistant bacteria are excreted in our wastes and are eventually released into streams, rivers and the ocean.

Megan May has been collecting bacteria samples at Falmouth and Cape Cod beaches during different seasons since 2013.

Petri dishes full of bacteria are treated with known antibiotics. The next day, if there is a ring of no bacteria around the discs, the antibiotics are effective against them.

May’s tests have shown that 73 percent of the Vibrio bacteria collected and 95 percent of all other types of bacteria were resistant to at least one antibiotic tested.

The results indicate that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are prevalent throughout Cape Cod waters providing a potential for human exposure.

May says more research will need to be conducted to better understand the health risks, if any, for people.

More details on the study can be found here.

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