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The ouch of ARGs.

According to the WHO, more than 2 million Americans are infected each year with antibiotic-resistant pathogens, and 14,000 die as a result. A study in the 1 December 2006 issue of Environmental Science & Technology puts forth the idea that antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs)--pieces of DNA that make bacteria resistant to common antibiotics--should be considered emerging environmental contaminants. ARGs are rapidly spread by horizontal gene transfer among bacteria. Even if cells containing ARGs are killed, DNA released from them can spread to other cells. The study authors found tetracycline and sulfonamide ARGs in several types of waters in northern Colorado, including treated drinking water and recycled wastewater, both of which could be potential pathways for human exposure.
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Title Annotation:The Beat
Author:Dooley, Erin E.
Publication:Environmental Health Perspectives
Date:Feb 1, 2007
Words:118
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