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Plants may be transmitting superbugs to people


Plants may be transmitting superbugs to people

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria could be transmitted to humans through consumption of plant foods, which may pose health risks for the general public, according to a study unveiled on Saturday (Jun 22).

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) discovered how plant foods serve as vehicles for spreading antibiotic resistance to the gut microbiome, said a study presented to ASM Microbe 2019, an annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) being held in San Francisco from Jun 20 to 24.

During a mouse experiment, the scientists observed antibiotic bacteria or "superbugs" successfully hid in the intestines of the mice fed with lettuce contaminated with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria of E. coli.

"We found differences in the ability of bacteria to silently colonize the gut after ingestion, depending on a variety of host and bacterial factors," said a USC researcher and lead author on the study.

Unlike the outbreaks of diarrheal illnesses caused immediately after humans eat contaminated vegetables, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria can hide in the human intestines for months or even years before they cause an illness such as a urinary infection, said the study.

"Our findings highlight the importance of tackling foodborne antibiotic-resistance from a complete food chain perspective that includes plant-foods in addition to meat," the researcher said.

- Source: News websites

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