Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Climate Change Could Supercharge Threat of Antibiotic Resistance: Study

Climate
Climate Change Could Supercharge Threat of Antibiotic Resistance: Study
E. coli. The World Health Organizations says antibiotic resistance is "one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today." U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

By Andrea Germano

The World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have previously sounded alarms about the growing issue of antibiotic resistance—a problem already linked to overprescribing of antibiotics and industrial farming practices. Now, new research shows a link between warmer temperatures and antibiotic resistance, suggesting it could be a greater threat than previously thought on our ever-warming planet.


The study, led by epidemiologists from Harvard Medical School (HMS), Boston Children's Hospital, and the University of Toronto, was published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change.

"The effects of climate are increasingly being recognized in a variety of infectious diseases, but so far as we know this is the first time it has been implicated in the distribution of antibiotic resistance over geographies," said Derek MacFadden, an infectious disease specialist and research fellow at Boston Children's and study co-author.

"We also found a signal that the associations between antibiotic resistance and temperature could be increasing over time," he said.

For the study, the researchers zeroed in on three of most commonly reported resistant bacteria—E. coli, K. pneumoniae and S. aureus (staph)—using data from hundreds of facilities across 41 states.

They found that local average minimum temperature increases of 10 degrees were associated with a 4.2 percent increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli. That temperature change was also associated with a 2.2 percent increase in antibiotic-resistant K. pneumoniae, and a 3.6 percent increase in S. aureus.

There was also a link with another issue facing the planet—population growth. The team found an increase of 10,000 people per square mile was associated with a 3 percent increase in antibiotic resistance in E. coli and 6 percent for K. pneumoniae.

"The bottom line," said co-author John Brownstein, chief innovation officer and director of the Computational Epidemiology Group at Boston Children's and professor of pediatrics at HMS, "is that our findings highlight a dire need to invest more research efforts into improving our understanding of the interconnectedness of infectious disease, medicine, and our changing environment."

In the U.S. alone, according to the CDC, 2 million people annually become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of those infections.

A fact sheet from WHO, meanwhile, declares antibiotic resistance "one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

The Metronome, a famous art installation in Union Square that used to display the time of day, has been repurposed into a "Climate Clock" for Climate Week NYC. Zack Winestine

By Jessica Corbett

This story was originally published on Common Dreams on September 19, 2020.

Some advocates kicked off next week's Climate Week NYC early Saturday by repurposing the Metronome, a famous art installation in Union Square that used to display the time of day, as a massive "Climate Clock" in an effort to pressure governments worldwide to take swift, bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rein in human-caused global heating.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks onstage at the event Fourth Annual Berggruen Prize Gala Celebrates 2019 Laureate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in New York City on Dec. 16, 2019. Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for Berggruen Institute

The passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg means the nation's highest court has lost a staunch advocate for women's rights and civil rights. Ginsburg was a tireless worker, who continued to serve on the bench through multiple bouts of cancer. She also leaves behind a complicated environmental legacy, as Environment and Energy News (E&E News) reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Project goal: To create an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to leather, in this case using fungi.

Read More Show Less
Plastic waste is bulldozed at a landfill. Needpix

The plastic recycling model was never economically viable, but oil and gas companies still touted it as a magic solution to waste, selling the American public a lie so the companies could keep pushing new plastic.

Read More Show Less
54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Maria Symchych-Navrotska / Getty Images

By Pamela Davis-Kean

With in-person instruction becoming the exception rather than the norm, 54% of parents with school-age children expressed concern that their children could fall behind academically, according to a poll conducted over the summer of 2020. Initial projections from the Northwest Evaluation Association, which conducts research and creates commonly used standardized tests, suggest that these fears are well-grounded, especially for children from low-income families.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch