Bacteria Resistant Gene Discovered On Pig Farm

The battle against bacteria continues to falter, as a new bacteria resistant gene is detected on a United States pig farm. According to a published article appearing in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, the bacterial gene resists the antibiotic class referred to as carbapenems. Carbapenems thwart germs that are resistant to existing drugs. Scientific research detected the harmful bacteria plasmids, which are segments of DNA. The discovery is the first occurrence of such a bacteria conjoined with transmissible carbapenem resistance, in the agricultural sector of the United States.


Despite the bad news associated with the discovery, the good news is that the bacterial germs, known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, isn’t being detected in the fecal matter of the pig inventory scheduled to be slaughtered. For now, authorities don’t believe any pork products to be produced and shipped from the pig farms are contaminated.


Research co-author, Thomas Wittum of the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, commenting on the discovery, “We found no evidence that was happening at this farm, but we want to figure out how to be sure that doesn’t happen.” “These bacteria can be a reservoir of resistance genes that they can share with pathogens like salmonella, carbapenems are one of our most important life-saving antibiotics, so that bacteria are becoming resistant is extremely concerning,” according to Wittum.


The gene was accidentally discovered as Wittum and his associates conducted research about agricultural animals resistance to antibiotics. The research conducted over 150 days employed the consumer household electrostatic product, “Swiffer” and surgical gauze swabs. These items collected fecal matter from the housing structure of the pigs for testing.


There are other occurrences of similar bacteria being detected in American livestock. The most recent detection of the threatening bacteria appearing in fecal matter of cattle. To prevent the further outbreak of harmful resistant genes from threatening the United States livestock population, government agencies need to scrutinize swine farm operations, according to Wittum. Wittum believes hat the government and private agricultural livestock operations can implement measures to avoid harmful bacterial strains from spreading.


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