Sharks Carrying Drug-Resistant "Bacterial Monsters"
Flushed medicines spawning antibiotic-resistant bacteria in oceans, study says.
The finding suggests antibiotics such as penicillin may be leaching into the environment and spurring drug-resistant bacteria to evolve and multiply in the oceans.
(See: "Drug-Resistant Bacteria Found in Wild Arctic Birds.")
"Bacteria have sex, basically. They can transfer genetic material," said study leader Mark Mitchell, professor of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Mitchell and colleagues found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in seven species of shark—such as bull sharks, lemon sharks, and nurse sharks—as well as the redfish Sciaenops ocellata. The fish live in coastal waters off Belize, Florida, Louisiana, and Massachusetts. (See