Household disinfectant potential cause of antibiotic resistance

Researchers from Midwestern University in Illinois, Curtin University of Technology in Australia, and Illinois State University have found that when bacteria become resistant to pine oil cleaners (POC), a common household disinfectant, they may also be resistant to some antibiotics. Their findings appear in the November 2002 issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

In the study, POC-resistant Staphylococcus aureus were found to also be resistant to the antibiotics, vancomycin and oxacillin. Further testing suggests that the same genetic mechanism may be responsible for both types of resistance.

“These results add to a growing body of reports suggesting that common disinfectants can select for bacteria with reduced susceptibilities to antibiotics,” say the researchers.

(C.T.D. Price, V.K. Singh, R.K. Jayaswal, B.J. Wilkinson, J.E. Gustafson. 2002. Pine oil cleaner-resistant staphylococcus aureus: reduced susceptibility to vancomycin and oxacillin and involvement of SigB. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68. 11: 5417-5421.)

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