Scientists Have Found Dangerous Amounts Of Antibiotics In Rivers Around The World

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Scientists Have Found Dangerous Amounts Of Antibiotics In Rivers Around The World
Scientists Have Found Dangerous Amounts Of Antibiotics In Rivers Around The World

Video: Scientists Have Found Dangerous Amounts Of Antibiotics In Rivers Around The World

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Video: Dangerous Levels of Antibiotics Found in World's Rivers 2023, February
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Scientists have found dangerous amounts of antibiotics in rivers around the world

A new global study found that hundreds of rivers around the world, from the Thames to the Tigris, contain high amounts of antibiotics. Because of this, the bacteria develop resistance to many of them, making treatments less effective.

Scientists have found dangerous amounts of antibiotics in rivers around the world
Scientists have found dangerous amounts of antibiotics in rivers around the world

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A new global study found that hundreds of rivers around the world, from the Thames to the Tigris, contain high amounts of antibiotics. Because of this, the bacteria develop resistance to many of them, making treatments less effective.

"Many of the resistance genes that we find in human pathogens come from bacteria in the environment," says Professor William Gaze of the University of Exeter, UK, who studies antimicrobial resistance.

According to the UN, the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a global health problem that could kill 10 million people a year by 2050.

Medicines enter rivers and soil through human and animal waste, outflow from treatment facilities and from pharmaceutical plants. According to the study authors, in certain regions, the level of antibiotics in the environment is high enough to influence the development of resistance.

The study, presented on May 27 at a conference of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in Helsinki, shows that some of the world's most famous rivers, including the Thames, are contaminated with antibiotics, which are used to treat serious infections.

Samples taken from the Danube in Austria contained seven antibiotics, including clarithromycin, which are used to treat respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. The level of these antibiotics in the Danube is four times higher than the level considered safe.

The Danube, the second largest river in Europe, turned out to be the most polluted river on the continent. In general, in Europe, in 8% of the places where samples were taken, the level of antibiotics exceeded the safety limit.

The Thames, generally considered one of the cleanest rivers in Europe, has been contaminated with a mixture of five antibiotics. The level of ciprofloxacin, which is used to treat skin and urinary tract infections, was more than three times the safe level.

However, even low levels of antibiotic contamination can stimulate the development of resistance, the researchers said. Scientists have tested 711 sites in 72 countries and found antibiotics in 65% of them. At 111 sites, antibiotic concentrations exceeded safe levels, with the most contaminated sites being more than 300 times the safe limit.

In low-income countries, the concentration of antibiotics in rivers is usually higher. The worst indicators were found in Asia and Africa. These rates are peaking in Bangladesh, where metronidazole, used to treat vaginal infections, is more than 300 times the safe level. Traces of it have been found near wastewater treatment plants, which in low-income countries often lack the technology to eliminate drugs.

Improper disposal of wastewater and waste discharged directly into rivers, as in Kenya, is also leading to an increase in antibiotic concentrations. In Kenya, in certain places, their concentration is 100 times the safe level.

The research team is currently planning to assess the impact of antibiotic pollution on wildlife, including fish, invertebrates and algae. Drug levels in some Kenyan rivers were becoming lethal for fish.

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