‘Superbugs’ found breeding in China’s sewage plants

December 18, 2013CHINA - Tests at two wastewater treatment plants in northern China revealed antibiotic-resistant bacteria were not only escaping purification but also breeding and spreading their dangerous cargo. Joint research by scientists from Rice, Nankai and Tianjin universities found “superbugs” carrying New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1), a multidrug-resistant gene first identified in India in 2010, in wastewater disinfected by chlorination. They found significant levels of NDM-1 in the effluent released to the environment and even higher levels in dewatered sludge applied to soils. The study, led by Rice University environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez, appeared this month in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters. “It’s scary,” Alvarez said. “There’s no antibiotic that can kill them. We only realized they exist just a little while ago when a Swedish man got infected in India, in New Delhi. Now, people are beginning to realize that more and more tourists trying to go to the upper waters of the Ganges River are getting these infections that cannot be treated. “We often think about sewage treatment plants as a way to protect us, to get rid of all of these disease-causing constituents in wastewater.  
But it turns out these microbes are growing. They’re eating sewage, so they proliferate. In one wastewater treatment plant, we had four to five of these superbugs coming out for every one that came in.” Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been raising alarms for years, particularly in hospital environments where public health officials fear they can be transferred from patient to patient and are very difficult to treat. Bacteria harboring the encoding gene that makes them resistant have been found on every continent except for Antarctica, the researchers wrote. NDM-1 is able to make such common bacteria as E. coli, salmonella and K. pneumonias resistant to even the strongest available antibiotics. The only way to know one is infected is when symptoms associated with these bacteria fail to respond to antibiotics. In experiments described in the same paper, Alvarez and his team confirmed the microbes treated by wastewater plants that still carried the resistant gene could transfer it via plasmids to otherwise benign bacteria. A subsequent study by Alvarez and his colleagues published this month in Environmental Science and Technology defined a method to extract and analyze antibiotic-resistant genes in extracellular and intracellular DNA from water and sediment and applied it to sites in the Haihe River basin in China, which drains an area of intensive antibiotic use. The study showed plasmids persist for weeks in river sediment, where they can invade indigenous bacteria. “It turns out that they transfer these genetic determinants for antibiotic resistance to indigenous bacteria in the environment, so they are not only proliferating within the wastewater treatment plant, they’re also propagating and dispersing antibiotic resistance,” Alvarez said. –Terra Daily
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5 Responses to ‘Superbugs’ found breeding in China’s sewage plants

  1. oogenhand says:

    And there is your overpopulation problem.

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  2. This report gives insight into just another way this world is facing a catastrophe … as I read, I thought of a sci-fi movie I saw where a walking and talking poop monster born from raw sewage raised up in attack against the people .. on another science note … if these microbes are eating sewage and multiplying .. this super bug just might be man made in an effort to help rid raw sewage .. possibly a another assumed science aid gone wrong ..

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  3. Alicia Dane says:

    Experiment with mushroom varieties in patients infected with these virulent strains. Wild mushrooms have to adapt by utilizing whatever decaying matter is found where they grow. They transform potentially deadly material into a source of nutrients. When we consume certain kinds of complex varieties of mushrooms, they target extremely harmful substances in the body [or environment] and deconstruct them. Producing stronger antibiotics is not the way to gain control of an adapting bacteria, it will continue to adapt. We have to render it dismantled at its molecular base. -

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  4. The Anti-Bacteria virus, can pass through the “genetic”‘s of Human kind, to the one of Indigenes …The Question is : Why there is an anti-bacterial resistance, to some people, and to other, no…Is it related to the various kinds of “Blood”?…….Marie-Myriam Cassin Edelman Medelman…

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