Jump to Topics

Clouds carry drug-resistant bacteria across distances: study

Clouds carry drug-resistant bacteria across distances: study

A team of Canadian and French researchers found in a recent study that dark clouds carry drug-resistant bacteria over long distances, but say that the risks are likely low.

Clouds carry drug-resistant bacteria across distances: study

For a team of Canadian and French researchers, dark clouds on the horizon are potentially ominous not because they signal an approaching storm — but because they were found in a recent study to carry drug-resistant bacteria over long distances.

“These bacteria usually live on the surface of vegetation like leaves, or in soil,” lead author Florent Rossi said in a telephone interview Friday.

“We found that they are carried by the wind into the atmosphere and can travel long distances — around the world — at high altitudes in clouds,” he told AFP.

The discovery was published in last month’s edition of the journal Science of The Total Environment.

The researchers from Laval University in Quebec City and Clermont Auvergne University in central France searched for antibiotic-resistant genes from bacteria found in cloud samples.

The samples were taken from an atmospheric research station perched 1,465 meters (4,806 feet) above sea level atop the Puy de Dome summit, a dormant volcano in central France between September 2019 and October 2021.

An analysis of the retrieved mist revealed that they contained between 330 to more than 30,000 bacteria per millilitre of cloud water, for an average of around 8,000 bacteria per millilitre.

They also identified 29 subtypes of antibiotic-resistant genes in the bacteria.


Costa Rican sloth antibiotics offer hope for human medicine

Drug resistance occurs when bacteria are exposed to antibiotics and develop an immunity to them over generations.

Health authorities have repeatedly warned these adaptations are becoming what the study described as a “major sanitary concern worldwide,” making it harder — in some cases impossible — to treat certain bacterial infections as antibiotics use continues to rise in health care and agriculture.

The study offered no conclusions on the potential health effects of the spread in the atmosphere of antibiotic-resistant bacteria — estimating that only five percent to 50 percent of the organisms could be alive and potentially active.

But Rossi suggested the risks are likely low.

“The atmosphere is very stressful for bacteria, and most of those we found were environmental bacteria,” which are less likely to be harmful to humans, he explained. “So people shouldn’t be afraid to go for a walk in the rain.”

“It’s unclear if those genes would be transmitted to other bacteria,” Rossi added.

Atmospheric monitoring, however, could help pinpoint the sources of drug-resistant bacteria — similar to wastewater tests for Covid-19 and other pathogens — “in order to limit their dispersal,” he said.

Share Your Experience/Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Physical activity improves the quality as well as duration of sleep. But exercising too close to bedtime is not advisable
While what causes Bell’s palsy is unknown, use of modern medicine along with holistic approaches could offer quick relief
CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. According to American Heart Association, immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. Keeping the blood flow active, even partially, extends the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrive on site. It is an important lifesaving first-aid tool that can be performed by anyone.




Opt-in To Our Daily Newsletter

* Please check your Spam folder for the Opt-in confirmation mail
We use cookies to customize your user experience, view our policy here

Your feedback has been submitted successfully.

The Happiest Health team will reach out to you at the earliest