Bacteria Resistant to Last Resort Antibiotic Found for First Time in Los Angeles County Wastewater

  11 April 2023

Bacteria that renders colistin, a “last resort” antibiotic, ineffective are lurking in SoCal’s wastewater. While bacteria resistant to colistin have been found elsewhere in the world, this marks the first detection in Los Angeles wastewater. The bacteria and associated genes that provide resistance to colistin were discovered at the county’s two largest wastewater plants. One treatment center serves 4 million residents, the other serves 3.5 million.

The resistant bacteria and associated genes were discovered by Adam Smith, a professor in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and documented in a new paper published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Smith, who documented COVID’s presence in wastewater during the pandemic, admits this type of antibiotic resistant gene has been found elsewhere in the world (6 of 7 continents, he said) but this is first time there are traces of this particular antibiotic resistance in LA.

Further reading: USC Viterbi
Author(s): Amy Blumenthal
Clean Environment  


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