Indoor Dust Shares Antibiotic Resistance Genes, Study Finds

by Helen Gonzales
Indoor Dust Shares Antibiotic Resistance Genes, Study Finds

Dust is present almost everywhere. All of us are aware of the fact that dirt does not come alone; it brings harmful bacteria with it. Thus people tend to vacuum clean their homes every other weekend. Despite continuous cleaning, the dust continues to deposit on various objects and at different places. But it might lead to harmful situations because researchers have discovered that dust in homes offers a favorable ground to superbugs. Bacteria surviving with dust particles are usually made up of hair, fabric fibers, or dead skin. They have learned to share DNA amid each other.

A new study backed by the Northwestern University is a first-ever trial that bacteria residing in the home can spread antibiotic resistance genes. Although most of the bacteria are not harmful, scientists surmise these genes could probably extend to disease-causing organisms. Even more, the combination may make infections more complex to cure. Erica Hartmann, leading author of the study, the proof, as such, does not mean that antibiotic resistance is worsening. She added it is just another risk factor that is essential to keep in mind. Overall, two ways enable a bacterium to share its genes.

Horizontal gene transfer is the primary mean for spreading antibiotic resistance genes among species. It takes place when a bacterium creates a copy of its genes and exchanges them with an adjacent. Researchers say a nano-pathogen can utilize this approach to transfer genes and offer antibiotic resistance genes to a pathogen. As a result, the pathogen becomes antibiotic-resistant. Hartmann said they have noticed living bacteria have exchangeable antibiotic-resistant species. She added people surmised it might be the scenario, but no one has revealed that microbes in dust comprise these conveyable genes. Well, it is strange for pathogens to reside in dust inside the home. But, they can hitch a ride into houses and merge with existing bacteria. The researchers have published the finding on Thursday in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

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