Antibiotic-Resistant Genes Detected in Houston’s Flooded Areas


Scientists from Rice University discovered results of extensive water sampling in Houston, traces of harmful bacteria E. coli found that would have occurred from flooded wastewater treatment plants. The stagnant flood water, trapped in homes for weeks, has generated high levels of E. coli having high antibiotic resistance, as per a microbial survey.

A study, at Rice University, led by Rice environmental engineers Lauren Stadler, Qilin Li, and Pedro Alvarez along with their students was conducted to analyze the water samples. They collected samples from stagnant water, taken from homes closed off for more than a week. Meanwhile, others took samples from flowing flood water.

The collected samples, surprisingly, comprised of huge levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and two genes namely sul1 & intl 1, despite weeks past for floods. Samples collected from locked homes displayed 250 and 60 times greater concentration of sul1 & intl1 respectively as compared that of in the bayou (wetland) samples.

READ  Traces of Ice Detected On Moon: Scientists

Stadler, regarding the research, said in a statement, “Sul1 is a gene that confers resistance to sulphonamide antibiotics. Intl1 is not an antibiotic-resistant gene, but an integrin-integrase gene that encodes for a system of gene capture and dissemination and can lead to the spread of antibiotic-resistant genes among bacteria.”

Warning about the possibility of harm caused by these antibiotic-resistant bacterias, Stadler said, “That matters because while we see these genes in environmental bacteria all the time, we really worry when pathogenic bacteria acquire resistant genes from environmental bacteria.” She added, “That’s when there’s an issue – when there’s an antibiotic-resistant pathogen. If you’re exposed to one of those, that’s when you see infections that are really hard to treat.”

She suggested people avoid direct contact from the stagnant water and take extra care, especially in water-filled homes that have the highest possibility of pathogens to grow.

“Wear protective gear, and don’t go in at all if you’re immunocompromised or have open wounds,” she advised.

READ  Quit Smoking by These Potential Drugs, Recently Discovered By Researchers