SUMMARY: Farm animals (for food) in African countries have high levels of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. Coli. Beta-lactamase is an enzyme produced by certain types of bacteria that disable antibiotics. Researchers looked at fecal samples from children in rural Ghana and samples from chicken broilers on local farms. Results suggests that eating these chickens and living around these chicken farms could be a way for humans to get these antibiotic resistant E. Coli into their gut.
LESSON COMMENTS: Topics that can be used in lesson plans from this article include: how antibiotics work, evolution of bacteria, mutations in DNA, the beta-lactamase enzyme and how it works to disable antibiotics. This article is fairly easy to read and would be good for an AP Biology class. An interesting question that came up in the Discussion section: Why were there less chickens in Europe and Asia harboring ESBL-producing E Coli compared to African countries? While there are antibiotic resistant strains of E Coli in Europe and Asia, only in Africa does it seem like they are jumping into people, why?
Falgenhauer, L., Imirzalioglu, C., Oppong, K., Akenten, C. W., Hogan, B., Krumkamp, R., Poppert, S., Levermann, V., Schwengers, O., Sarpong, N., Owusu-Dabo, E., May, J., … Eibach, D. (2019). Detection and Characterization of ESBL-Producing Escherichia coli From Humans and Poultry in Ghana. Frontiers in microbiology, 9, 3358. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2018.03358