Antibiotic-resistant “super bacteria” has been detected for the first time in Los Angeles County.
A team of USC researchers announced today that they have found antibiotic-resistant bacteria at two of the largest wastewater facilities in Los Angeles County.
One was found in the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment and Recycling Plant in Playa del Rey, and the other was found in the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in Carson.
The bacteria completely neutralized the colistin antibiotic, which was a last resort for the researchers and proved ineffective.
Colistin is a last-resort antibiotic used for serious infections or conditions that cannot be treated or do not respond to antibiotics such as penicillin.
“While certain types of antibiotic-resistant genes have been found elsewhere in the world, this is the first time they’ve been found in Los Angeles,” said Professor Adam Smith, who speculated that the emergence of the bacteria may be a result of increased antibiotic consumption around the world during the pandemic.
“If bacteria become resistant, antibiotics will no longer be useful, and we will have to come up with new antibiotics or other treatments,” Smith said.
He also emphasized that wastewater is a good indicator of the public’s overall health and should be tested regularly to track rising diseases.
This could be particularly useful for elderly care facilities and other places where there is a high risk of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, he added. “If this issue is not addressed, antibiotic resistance could be the next pandemic,” warned Prof. Smith.
BY JANG SU-AH [firstname.lastname@example.org]