Snooping around in Hospital Pipes, Scientists Find DNA that Fuels the Spread of Superbugs

February 7, 2018

(Los Angeles Times) – The pipes carrying away the effluvia of very sick people are bound to be nasty, dirty places. But just how unwholesome they are is made clear in a new report showing that the pipes beneath a hospital intensive care unit are a throbbing, seething hookup zone for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Even when the sinks, faucets, bedrails and countertops of patients’ rooms are largely free of germs that resist modern medicines, the genetic building blocks for antibiotic resistance intermingle freely in the pipes connected to those rooms, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal mBio. That DNA can give superbugs the power to defeat modern medicines and threaten the lives of patients.

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