Smog in Beijing contains bacteria with antibiotic-resistant genes, sparking public fears

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A report that Beijing’s already notorious smog contained bacteria with antibiotic-resistant genes spread through the city [in December] like pathogens in a pandemic disaster movie.

The study, published in October, found antibiotic-resistant genetic material in the smog but no evidence of live bacteria capable of infecting anyone.

That did not make residents of Beijing feel much better, though.

By [December 5], most Chinese news reports speculating about the threat had been taken offline, replaced by articles quoting an unidentified expert from the city’s Health Department advising that there was nothing to worry about.

Though fears of airborne bacteria were unfounded, there is a growing health problem of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are heavily overprescribed in China, doctors and researchers say.

“We have studied DNA from bacteria in the air and found a large variety of genes that can make bacteria resistant to antibiotics, including some of the most powerful antibiotics we have,” stated [Joakim Larsson, a professor of environmental pharmacology at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy]. “This was a surprising finding to us, and we think it warrants further studies.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Fear, Then Skepticism, Over Antibiotic-Resistant Genes in Beijing Smog