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Science AMA Series: We are Dr Anne Leonard and Dr William Gaze from the University of Exeter Medical School. We conduct research into antibiotic-resistance in coastal waters, and we’re here today to talk about it. AMA!
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Hi Reddit, We are Dr Anne Leonard and Dr William Gaze from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health (http://www.ecehh.org/), based at the University of Exeter Medical School. We are here to answer your questions on antibiotic-resistance in coastal waters. Bacteria that can survive in the presence of medicines (antibiotics) designed to kill them, are termed antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and are a growing threat to human wellbeing around the world. Infections caused by bacteria that survive treatment with antibiotics are difficult to cure, and can even kill people if effective antibiotics aren’t available (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2118046-woman-dies-from-infection-resistant-to-all-available-antibiotics/) Understanding the various ways people come into contact with resistant bacteria can help develop effective strategies to control the spread of resistance. We recently published a study (Beach Bums) on resistant bacteria in coastal waters and the potential for their spread to water users. Finding that surfers, who swallow a lot of seawater when they surf, are at a much greater risk of having antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their guts compared to people who don’t go in the sea indicates that coastal waters could be an important environment in which members of the community acquire resistant bacteria. We are looking forward to reading your questions and comments about antibiotic-resistance in the environment. EDIT: hi! Thanks to everyone who got in touch to ask us thought-provoking questions about the issue of antibiotic-resistance in the environment. We’re going to sign out in a bit, but (time permitting) we will check back later to see if there are any more questions to answer.