“Study finds antibiotic resistance rise tied to hotter temps”
“Could a warming climate be one of the factors bringing the world closer to the “post-antibiotic” era that infectious disease experts have been warning about?
That’s one of the questions raised by a new paper in Nature Climate Change that explores the role that climate and other factors play in the distribution of antibiotic resistance in the United States. The study, conducted by researchers with the University of Toronto, Harvard Medical School, and Boston Children’s Hospital, shows that increasing local temperatures are associated with higher levels of antibiotic resistance in three common bacterial pathogens—Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae,and Staphylococcus aureus.
The researchers also found that higher population densities and antibiotic prescribing rates are associated with higher rates of drug resistance.
The findings of the study do not show that increasing temperatures are causing antibiotic resistance to rise, and the authors of the study note that antibiotic use remains the primary driver for selection of antibiotic resistance. But they say the findings open up an intriguing area of research that could expand the understanding of the forces that affect antibiotic-resistance rates.
“One of the things we’re doing with this paper is opening the door to an additional variable that has not been previously thought of as relevant,” study co-author Mauricio Santillana, PhD, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said in an interview.”