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Negative effect: air pollution lowers the effectiveness of antibiotics


Black carbon affects bacteria in the human body
Rising air pollution in many countries around the world is causing health problems for many people. Affected people become more susceptible to a number of diseases, including heart disease and cancer. However, there still seem to be unknown effects. Researchers have now found that air pollution appears to reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics.

The University of Leicester scientists found that increasing global air pollution is reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics. UK doctors published the results of their study in the journal Environmental Microbiology.

Increasing air pollution leads to reduced effectiveness of antibiotics
A so-called antibiotic is a substance with an antimicrobial effect. Antibiotics are mostly used as a drug in the treatment of various infectious diseases. In recent decades, however, there have been an increasing number of cases in which bacterial strains no longer reacted to antibiotics. There are many reasons for this. The new results suggest that air pollution can negatively affect the effectiveness of antibiotics, the experts say.

How does black carbon affect bacteria in the nose, throat and lungs?
So-called black carbon is an important component of global air pollution. The pollutant is produced by burning fossil fuels. These include, for example, diesel and biomass. The current study has now examined how air pollution, especially from black carbon, affects bacteria in the human body. The scientists were concerned with bacteria that occur especially in the nose, throat and lungs.

Pollutants change many of the abilities of bacteria in the human body
The research found that black carbon changes the way bacteria grow and form communities. The pollutant also affects how such bacteria survive in our airways. In addition, the ability of bacteria to hide from and fight our immune system is changing, explains the author Dr. Julie Morrissey of the University of Leicester in a press release.

Doctors examine bacteria as the cause of respiratory diseases
Research focused mainly on Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. These two types of bacteria are usually the main cause of respiratory diseases. The above-mentioned strains of bacteria show a particularly high resistance to treatments with antibiotics, explain the doctors.

Black carbon affects antibiotic tolerance
The research team found that black carbon changes the antibiotic tolerance of Staphylococcus aureus communities. In addition, the pollutant significantly increases the resistance of Streptococcus pneumoniae communities to penicillin. Penicillin is used for the frontal treatment of bacterial pneumonia, the experts say. Black carbon has also been found to cause Streptococcus pneumoniae to spread from the nose to the lower respiratory tract. This is an important step in the development of diseases, the scientists add.

Risk of infection is increased and treatment with antibiotics is made more difficult
Current research increases our understanding of how air pollution affects human health, says author Dr. Julie Morrissey. The results show that the respiratory bacteria are affected by the effects of air pollution. This appears to increase the risk of infection and affect the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment for these diseases. (as)

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