Claim: climatic temperature increases cause antibiotic resistance

From BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL and the “UHI, what’s that?” department

Scientists find link between increases in local temperature and antibiotic resistance

Boston, MA (May 21, 2018) – Bacteria have long been thought to develop antibiotic resistance largely due to repeated exposure through over-prescribing. But could much bigger environmental pressures be at play?

Seeking to better understand the distribution of antibiotic resistance across the U.S., a multidisciplinary team of epidemiologists from Boston Children’s Hospital and the University of Toronto have found that higher local temperatures and population densities correlate with a higher degree of antibiotic resistance in common bacterial strains. The findings were published today in Nature Climate Change.

“The effects of climate are increasingly being recognized in a variety of infectious diseases, but so far as we know this is the first time it has been implicated in the distribution of antibiotic resistance over geographies,” says the study’s lead author, Derek MacFadden, MD, an infectious disease specialist and research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital. “We also found a signal that the associations between antibiotic resistance and temperature could be increasing over time.”

“Estimates outside of our study have already told us that there will already be a drastic and deadly rise in antibiotic resistance in coming years,” says the paper’s co-senior author John Brownstein, PhD, who is Chief Innovation Officer and director of the Computational Epidemiology Group at Boston Children’s and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (HMS). “But with our findings that climate change could be compounding and accelerating an increase in antibiotic resistance, the future prospects could be significantly worse than previously thought.”

During their study, the team assembled a large database of U.S. antibiotic resistance information related to E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and S. aureus, pulling from various streams of hospital, laboratory and disease surveillance data documented between 2013 and 2015. Altogether, their database comprised more than 1.6 million bacterial pathogens from 602 unique records across 223 facilities and 41 states.

Not surprisingly, when looking at antibiotic prescription rates across geographic areas, the team found that increased prescribing was associated with increased antibiotic resistance across all the pathogens that they investigated.

Then, comparing the database to latitude coordinates as well as mean and medium local temperatures, the team found that higher local average minimum temperatures correlated the strongest with antibiotic resistance. Local average minimum temperature increases of 10 degrees Celsius were found to be associated with 4.2, 2.2 and 3.6 percent increases in antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and S. aureus, respectively.

More unsettling still, when looking at population density, the team found that an increase of 10,000 people per square mile was associated with three and six percent respective increases in antibiotic resistance in E. coli and K. pneumoniae, which are both Gram-negative species. In contrast, the antibiotic resistance of Gram-positive S. aureus did not appear to be significantly affected by population density.

“Population growth and increases in temperature and antibiotic resistance are three phenomena that we know are currently happening on our planet,” says the study’s co-senior author Mauricio Santillana, PhD, who is a faculty member in the Computational Health Informatics Program at Boston Children’s and an assistant professor at HMS. “But until now, hypotheses about how these phenomena relate to each other have been sparse. We need to continue bringing multidisciplinary teams together to study antibiotic resistance in comparison to the backdrop of population and environmental changes.”

MacFadden says the transmission factor is of particular interest for further scientific research.

A representation of antibiotic resistance caused by climate change.
CREDIT Fawn Gracey/Boston Children’s Hospital


In addition to MacFadden, Brownstein and Santillana, additional authors on the study are Sarah McGough and David Fisman.

This work was supported by a Canadian Institute for Health Research Fellowship, the Clinician Scientist Program at University of Toronto’s Department of Medicine and the National Library of Medicine (NIH R01 LM011965).

No mention of UHI.

There’s no link to the paper in the press release, but really, all the information you need to know is in that super-sciency graphic provided in the PR, caption theirs.

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May 21, 2018 8:53 am

Antibiotic resistance is evolutionary adaption. An antibiotic does not kill every one of the bacteria that it targets. If it kills 99%, it leaves the 1% that were resistant to reproduce. A 2nd round of antibiotics may kill 50% of the target species, leaving the other 50% to reproduce with even more resistance than the previous generation. Eventually the number of resistant bacteria grows to a per centage as to be seemingly totally resistant to the antibiotic that mostly killed the first generation.

Reply to  DonK31
May 21, 2018 9:38 am

The idea of ” anti-biotic resistance” has been discussed and debated for a long time now.
VIRAL DISEASES against which they are useless AND TO SAVE MONEY.
That should be the end of the story BUT…………………….
doctors continue to issue prescriptions for VIRAL INFECTIONS because there is usually some
associated opportunistic bacterial organism ALSO taking advantage of the cells damaged
by the virus.Eventually the human-body’s IMMUNE SYSTEM kicks in and the virus and bacteria
or fungus or whatever is SEEN OFF or the person succumbs and dies ! Simple !
Most antibiotics are synthesised in a laboratory and have individual ( but not unique ) characteristics.
In nature , antibiotics are as common as dirt ! Literally ! Soil organisms gave “us” our first
anti-biotics ( and though Fleming gets the CREDIT……it ALL BELONGS to HOWARD FLOREY and
HIS TEAM including ERNST BORIS CHAIN ……who understood it , developed and produced it to
where it could actually be used in humans ! NOW THAT DESERVED THE NOBEL PRIZE ! ).
Normally , these bacteria use antibiotics against one another to hold onto their territory against
marauders ( much as we use fences and locked doors ) and not in an altruistic manner.
The fact that they work is due to “receptors” that exist in the other cells. The fact that all these
bacteria have been competing with one-another for so long means that there is ALWAYS some
ANTI-BIOTIC RESISTANCE ( or they would ALL have been wiped out by some SUPER-BUG ! )
So , it is NOT our use of synthetic antibiotics that have created this resistance , it has always
existed , it is just that THERE IS SOMETIMES ( make that many times ! ) compassionate and
INAPPROPRIATE and probably futile USE OF ANTI-BIOTICS by the medical profession.
PROFESSION IN SOME WAY , this hoary-old-chestnut gets dragged out , SO SOME
“MORAL HIGH-GROUND” CAN BE ESTABLISHED from which to berate the inferior
with “moral authority”……..usually as a prelude to a discussion on WAGES OR CONDITIONS !
Something like “Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant” , “Global Warming is the greatest threat
assuage our guilt and SOLVE EVERYTHING ” because IT IS ALL IN THE PUBLIC
INTEREST ISN’T IT !!!!???????

Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 9:47 am

Your typed shouting seriously disrupts readability.

Reply to  ATheoK
May 21, 2018 9:54 am

ATheoK : I get AGITATED !
Try READING with EAR-MUFFS if my shouting affects your sensibilities !
or…………..don’t bother reading it at all ! SIMPLE !
Regards , Trevor.

Bryan A
Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 10:22 am

Population Goes UP (has since the LIA)
Antibiotic Usage Goes UP (has since the LIA)
Temperatures Go UP (have since the LIA)
Antibiotic Resistance Goes UP (has since Antibiotic use began…)
So the cause of Antibiotic Resistance is Temperatures???
It’s called evolution … every species does it to adapt to their environment, Even Bacteria and Viruses!!!
Otherwise someone from a colder climate would not be able to be treated for infection in warmer climates.
I guess Antibiotics don’t work in places like…
Saudi Arabia
Because it is to hot there

Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 10:49 am

Trevor, you are basically correct, but don’t “shout” to make your point. Like insects microorganisms have been faced with chemical warfare a lot longer than humans have been around. We lost DDT because of our poor understanding of resistance development in insects. Penicillin resistance developed almost as quickly and, interestingly, at about the same time. Misuse of both pesticides and antibiotics had driven resistance in both insects and bacteria. Yet for bacteria it is more than that. Resistance to modern antibiotics first developed in hospital environments where there were trace amounts of antibiotics everywhere and even where there were strict antibiotic use policies. Then poor or inappropriate hygiene, primarily by doctors, spread resistance organisms. Still the scariest thing discovered relatively recently in resistance development was apparently genes are being passed between bacteria of different strains and species. I haven’t followed up on the hypothesis as to the mechanism. The Russian embarked on using bacteriophages for certain infections in their fight against resistance. FDA has not been too keen on the subject. Why? It might cause resistance to spread more rapidly. Two scariest things in the wild have been the development of resistant TB due to incomplete or sporadic antibiotic use and MRSA, especially around large athletic programs.

Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 12:27 pm

Trevor- bacteria normally release bits of DNA into their environment. Most commonly it is plasmid, little loops of DNA. They usually contain random genes and if the bacterium has survived an antibiotic the plasmid will likely include some of that DNA as well. They were discovered shortly after penicillin. Other bacteria just dribble bits of DNA or complete genes. They are not very efficient machines.

Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 12:27 pm

Trevor- bacteria normally release bits of DNA into their environment. Most commonly it is plasmid, little loops of DNA. They usually contain random genes and if the bacterium has survived an antibiotic the plasmid will likely include some of that DNA as well. They were discovered shortly after penicillin. Other bacteria just dribble bits of DNA or complete genes. They are not very efficient machines.

Reply to  Philo
May 21, 2018 7:59 pm

Thanks for that….but my “rant” had gone on for too long (according to some sensitive person )
so I did NOT want to get “too technical” as it is a very LOOOOOOOONG and diverse subject
with which I could fill far too many pages. I was presenting a “point of view: , an aspect ,
not a treatise ! IF YOU WISH to continue it , please go ahead !
Regards , Trevor.

Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 2:55 pm

“Trevor May 21, 2018 at 9:54 am
ATheoK : I get AGITATED !
Try READING with EAR-MUFFS if my shouting affects your sensibilities !
or…………..don’t bother reading it at all ! SIMPLE !
Regards , Trevor.”

“I get AGITATED”. That is your personal problem.
“Try READING with EAR-MUFFS if my shouting”; Oh yeah, abusive snark always works well when you’re being anti-social to others.
“don’t bother reading it at all”; point taken, will do.

Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 5:10 pm

Eventually the human-body’s IMMUNE SYSTEM kicks in and the virus and bacteria
or fungus or whatever is SEEN OFF or the person succumbs and dies ! Simple !

It is common to get a chronic infection that lasts decades or a natural lifetime,
or for someone to be a carrier with mild symptoms.
Eg Typhoid Mary died at 69 with live typhoid bacteria in her gallbladder.

Reply to  Jeff
May 21, 2018 8:36 pm

Jeff. You could NOT have chosen a worse example ( in my opinion ).
Sure, Mary Mallon WAS an asymptomatic typhoid carrier best known as Typhoid Mary
but she LIVED and DIED before the AGE OF ANTI-BIOTICS , so NOT a good choice.
Also , she was a very devious woman who constantly broke her word NOT to
work as a cook , so , even had treatment been available she would probably
NOT have COMPLIED with it, which is necessary if a “cure” is to be effected.

Ken L
Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 9:38 pm

You may or may not be HTML savvy( I’m not, particularly), but if you click the test
button at the top of the page you will find that will give you italics, and will give you bold lettering. Or you can combine both to give bold italics. The emphasis will be there but you won’t be offending folks’ forum and blog protocol sensibilities. I’ve been called out, by the way, for such “offenses” in my early days on the internet. If uncertain as to whether the code works for your comment, you can use the test page to test your entry. Go figure 😉
Your contribution, at any rate, is appreciated.

Reply to  Ken L
May 22, 2018 12:16 am

Thanks Ken L.
I will attempt to learn the method you suggested .
Regards , Trevor.

Reply to  Trevor
May 21, 2018 10:59 pm

Another example is Golden staph which is a common infection and up to 50,000 deaths each year in the USA are caused by it.
Also an estimated 20% to 30% of the human population are long-term carriers of S. aureus.
I am just trying to make the point that people can carry bacterial infections long term without dying from them.

Reply to  Jeff
May 22, 2018 12:03 am

Jeff : Point made ! …………. O.K. !!
I thought that I was COMMENTING on an issue
with a few facts “gleaned from my experience”
that may be of some interest to others !
I don’t really NEED to be told about commensal organisms or
GIT( gastrointestinal ) bacteria and so on.
“ONE-UP-MAN-SHIP” so please DESIST !

Bryan A
Reply to  Trevor
May 22, 2018 6:33 am

It TaKeS a LiTtLe MoRe TiMe BuT tRy CaPiTaLiZiNg EvErY oThEr LeTtEr To ReAlLy CoNfUsE pEoPlE.

Dr Deanster
Reply to  Trevor
May 22, 2018 6:56 am

Antibiotic Resistance has no relation to Global Warming. It’s not as common as the lame brain media would have you think. It’s primary existence is in hospitals, where bugs evolve in an environment where microorganisms are imported (come in on sick patients) concentrated by population, and evolve in an environment of constant antibiotic presence. The primary spread of these bugs are what is called nosocomial, ie, you catch the damn thing in the hospital, usually as a result of long term care like being on a respirator, or a surgical complication.
Hospitals keep what are called antibiograms, and monitor resistance of key organisms, including MRSA, Pseudomonas, ESBLs, and a few others. If bugs start developing resistance to a certain drug, the hospital will usually curtail use, or only use that drug in organisms that are tested as susceptible.
When a drug use is halted, resistance usually subsides over a relatively short time. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside or inside the hospital, the resistance is related to the use of the drug …..i.e., Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption has no impact. Neither does extreme weather outside of the possibility that more poor souls might find themselves in a hospital, thus increase the likelyhood of becoming infected.

May 21, 2018 8:53 am

It’s from the “how to succeed in research without really trying” department. When does it get the Nobel?

Bryan A
Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 21, 2018 10:24 am

More Likely the No-Bull (Loads-o-bull)

May 21, 2018 9:01 am

Notice that the locations are along a particular set of borders?

Reply to  Maxx
May 21, 2018 10:15 am

“a 10 °C increase in temperature, an extreme but conceivable scenario for some parts of the United States by the end of this century”
They might as well have picked a 100 C increase in temps

Reply to  Latitude
May 21, 2018 11:43 am

The low quality of the abstract is a good indication of how low in quality the study is.
“We explored the role of climate (temperature) and additional factors on the distribution of antibiotic resistance across the United States,”
They explored? Do they even a grade school understanding of technical writing?
“and here we show that increasing local temperature as well as population density are associated with increasing antibiotic resistance (percent resistant) in common pathogens.”
Typically scientists prefer that the data to show a conclusion, but at least suggest how you show something if you say it in the abstract.
“We found that an increase in temperature of 10 °C across regions was associated with an increases in antibiotic resistance of 4.2%, 2.2%, and 2.7% for the common pathogens Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus”
Ah, actually pertinent information at last, and it might as well say that “We have no idea how to design a scientific experiment with proper controls.”

Reply to  Latitude
May 21, 2018 2:57 pm

Excellent comments Maxx, Latititude and RWturner.

Reply to  Maxx
May 21, 2018 1:02 pm

There are infinite possible correlations. Just because there is a correlation between two things, it doesn’t mean that one thing caused the other. It could be (or likely is) a spurious correlation.
You could argue that greater use of air conditioning, because of greater temperature, causes antibiotic resistance. You could argue that greater temperatures result in more energetic lizards which results in antibiotic resistance. You could argue that changes in cloud cover result in increased temperature and also result in changes in ground level light spectra which are conducive to the development of antibiotic resistance.
You could argue that more use of air conditioning results in greater population densities in the south which in turn results in antibiotic resistance (independent of changes in temperature).
That last one is tricky. Suppose that higher temperatures would normally result in people leaving the south. Air conditioning gets cheaper so more people can settle in the south in spite of what the temperature is doing. So it looks like the temperature and antibiotic resistance are correlated where actual causality would suggest the opposite.

May 21, 2018 9:06 am

Antibiotic resistance is a much greater problem in poor countries where antibiotics are routinely used to excess with little control.
It couldn’t possibly be that there are more immigrants (legal or illegal) from e. g. Latin America in major cities compared to countryside or the southern US compared to northern US, could it?

Tom Halla
Reply to  tty
May 21, 2018 9:15 am

Yeah, but blaming immigrants from third world countries is so politically incorrect.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 21, 2018 6:29 pm

He’s not blaming, he just says it’s a problem. I have known many South East Asian immigrants for many years. They used to get antibiotics ship from Thailand by the thousands. They took them for everything.
The biggest contribution may have come from antibiotics in animal feed. Resistance from bacteria in animals, then transferred to humans was documented long ago.
I blame the chickens and the pigs!

Bryan A
Reply to  tty
May 21, 2018 10:27 am

Not only that but the Quality is significantly lower as the Outdated Antibiotics are shipped there then watered down to be similar to Homeopathic Remedies in the poorer countries. They also buy the cheap FAKE stuff that comes out of China and also doesn’t work as intended.

Reply to  tty
May 21, 2018 10:33 am

Yah, no UHI at play, just the U. This is a childish fishing attempt.

Reply to  tty
May 21, 2018 11:48 am

Well who knows? The paper is paywalled and the abstract provides nothing but handwaving.

Reply to  tty
May 22, 2018 7:36 am

I actually have to wonder about that… I know far too many here in the 1st world that pick up a prescription for say, 10 days, feel better in 5 and save the rest “just in case.” I wonder what effect THAT has on resistance.

Komrade Kuma
May 21, 2018 9:08 am

“director of the Computational Epidemiology Group”
‘Computational’, ‘computational’? Now where have I heard that before? Do they use ‘models’?

Steve Richards
May 21, 2018 9:10 am

Mmm they looked at a couple of variables and found a correlation. Surprised- not.

Reply to  Steve Richards
May 21, 2018 9:22 am

More likely they looked at a hundred variables and found that two were correlated.

Reply to  Urederra
May 21, 2018 10:36 am

xkcd. The denlalist site. /sarc

Reply to  Steve Richards
May 21, 2018 9:48 am

Confounded by numerous other factors than merely local temperatures. High population densities? High densities of individuals failing for all sorts of reasons of which climate is none. Lets look at the data relative to socio-economic factors, or ratio to population size. Merely stating these areas have more doesn’t attempt to rationally determine why there is more and is there actually “more” in a meaningful manner.

Reply to  rocketscientist
May 21, 2018 11:50 am

Exactly. So then you can claim that a variable is a factor without actually providing scientific evidence and then get the press release out.

Tom in Forida
May 21, 2018 9:11 am

Did they track if the antibiotics were taken properly by the patients? Too many people take them until they feel better not realizing that they must complete the entire prescription for it to work as prescribed. Stopping too soon leaves too many bacteria alive to go about their naughty ways. The infection comes back and they must get another prescription. Also the time period of the records, 22013-2015 seems awfully short to conclude it was the climate change that done it. Now if they really wanted to strike fear in people’s hearts they would have studied Vibrio Vulnificus. That bacteria will make you crap your pants.

May 21, 2018 9:16 am

So, the team compared resistance to several (how many? 10?) proposed possible causes, and one of them dealing with temperature had a correlation.
At what level of confidence? Did they increase the required confidence level to account for the multiple factor comparisons they made? 10 comparisons gives 10 times the likelihood of finding one of them with a correlation.
And then, only a few percent rise in resistance for a 10 degree (18 Fahrenheit) temperature rise? If minimum global temperatures were to rise by 10 Celsius, I expect a few percent rise in antibiotic resistance a relatively minor problem.
And, when the northern latitude microbes were not infecting people, were they living outside during the winter or inside where the potential hosts had the heat turned up toasty warm?

John Darrow
May 21, 2018 9:16 am

I believe that by now we have enough data on the AGW crowd, supplied by themselves, that we can say with 97% certainty that ‘climate change’ causes otherwise unstable people to become complete idiots.

Reply to  John Darrow
May 21, 2018 9:52 am

I disagree. They were already idiots. This is merely a means to allow them to expose themselves.
This does have a tarnished silver lining.

Jim Gorman
May 21, 2018 9:18 am

Something doesn’t add up here. The human physiology requires a bodies temperature to remain within a fairly narrow range and it is usually higher than the ambient temperature. So, how does bacteria in a human, let’s say with a temperature of 100 degrees F, know what the average global temperature is or even be affected by it.
The only logical conclusion is that antibiotic resistance is growing while outside the human body. Yet, these bacteria are generally not exposed to antibiotics. The only thing I can think of is that our waters are being so polluted with medicines going down the toilets that bacteria are being exposed in our waterways.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 21, 2018 9:56 am

There is evidence that similar issues have arisen. Some studies have shown that certain medicines when flushed into the general water supply have been affecting the development of aquatic organisms (amphibians and fish) by acting as synthetic hormones.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 21, 2018 11:54 am

You’d think they’d offer some inkling of a hint at how they actually conducted their study. But nope, it’s typical weasel-science where you provide as little information as possible so that it’s harder to replicate and refute.

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 22, 2018 4:13 am

yes waters with bigpharmas meds are one cause, seems theyre either not able to? or its too hard/costs much to filter the toxic meds out
(youre now getting contraceptive hormones statins n ssris secondhand in your water;-/
and they only bitch about finding ice coke n other illegals?? in testing of sewers)
the poor cattle jammed into CAFO and chooks n pigs the same
the circovirus outbreak in pigs that crossed into pet dogs a couple yrs ago in usa,
a “parvo like virus they couldnt identify” while many dogs died cruel deaths
piggerys ship the young weaners all over america to be fattened and while travelling they crap n pee and that oozes out along roadways etc where people n pets walk, drains to stormwater as well, add raw meat scrap trimmed n thrown to pets(not many dogs like raw pork though). gmo modded plants were created to contain one of the older antibiotics too, and thats in every grain stalk and fibre of the plant eventually nanos add up to micro doses, let alone also ending up in soils to affect natural profiles there too.
theres a LOT of serious issues we should be addressing
and bloody co2 isnt one of them by miles!

May 21, 2018 9:25 am

So somehow this wouldn’t fall under more pathogens closer to the tropics ∴ more antibiotic use… and from there ∴ larger number of AB fail-to-complete prescription problems?
Go to the tropics! Every last clinic hands out antibiotics like they’re candy. For everything. Whether required or not. The local populus in turn dutifully takes the packages home, and “self-medicates”. Uses the antibiotics as instructed until the symptoms abate. Then they stop. No, not in the 10 days, or 14 days, or 24 days required, but when the symptoms reverse and subside.
The pathogenic bad actors get a break. If any have mutated — even a bit — to develop resistance to the antibiotic(s), they in turn will chug along, multiply and express themselves in whatever contageous form is necessary for reproductive viability. The next lasses and blokes catch the now-mutated, now more antibiotic resistant pathogens, and they get sick. And off to the clinic. Handed bags of antibiotics. REPEAT
The closer one gets to the tropics, the greater the number of airborne, foodborned, waterborne and person-to-person contact pickup pathogens one runs into every single day. Its just the nature of “being more clement”. No hard freezes to annually shake down the biting-and-shîtting insect population. No endless cold days to slow down microbial life function and reproduction. That’s why one gets tropical disease immunizations before travelling to our planet’s equatorial climes.
Just saying.
It seems obvious.

Reply to  GoatGuy
May 21, 2018 10:41 am

No ****. Man, you sank a paper without a second in the lab. Be careful, that kind of skepticism is greeted with a sticker.

May 21, 2018 9:36 am

Info Please???

as well as mean and medium local temperatures

This is the second time I have seen the term “medium” in apparent reference to an average.
I have always known of the mean, median, and the mode.
Is “medium” something new?

Reply to  TonyL
May 21, 2018 9:43 am

Nope ! There is ONE at every seance ! It’s OFFICIAL !

Tom in Florida
Reply to  TonyL
May 21, 2018 11:30 am

It’s the temp to cook beef at to make sure the bacteria are dead.

Reply to  TonyL
May 21, 2018 11:56 am

Maybe they hired one to bypass the tricky sciency stuff and just divined a conclusion instead.

Evan Jones
May 21, 2018 9:40 am

Local average minimum temperature increases of 10 degrees Celsius were found to be associated with 4.2, 2.2 and 3.6 percent increases in antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and S. aureus, respectively.
Oh. No problem, then.

May 21, 2018 9:47 am

“…the team found that higher local average minimum temperatures correlated the strongest with antibiotic resistance.”
Did the climate have to change for lower latitudes to have higher local average minimum temperatures than higher latitudes, or has that been the case all along? Are today’s minimum temperatures in those locations much higher than those of the dust bowl era?

Reply to  Louis
May 21, 2018 10:14 am

Thank you, Louis, et al.
Good grief! Until the $$$ stops flowing, we will continue to see neverending statements that “more study/research is needed”. Anyone else motice this?
Being an old systems engineer and involved with testing sftwe and hdwe systems, I see failed test criteria, lack of “falsifying the negative” and on and on from these guys. And one of the worst assertions is that “natural” forces are not as significant as anthropogenic forces WRT climate change. So don’t collect data from the middle of a densely populated city that did not even exist back in the day before SUV’s and HVAC systems. Sheesh.
Those familiar with the tropics on this thread point out that antibiotics are doled out like candy, mainly for we “white eyes” that do not have acquired immunity. Have these pseudoscience dudes every heard of that? I would not have survived several tours of duty in tropical ops areas without many shots and prophylactics such as the quinine derivative we took.for malaria.
It would seem to me that separating excessive use of antibiotics from a desnsely populated area from rural setting would not be hard. BUT NO!!!!!!
I also question if the same antibiotic compound was compared with that used in Boston and that used in Houston. Hmmmm? And then Little Rock or Tulsa. You know, the flyover country.
I can tellya that if my grandkids want to be “scientists”, that the first thing that they have to major in is engineering with an emphasis upon testing. Then get their “science” degree in grad school or another B.S. program.
Gums rants….

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Louis
May 21, 2018 10:26 am

I’ll say it again, what does higher local average minimum temperatures have to do with the temperature of the human body? How could a higher local average minimum temperature have to do with how bacteria react to antibiotics inside a human body?

Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 21, 2018 10:45 am

Actchally, Jim, the microbes down here on the Gulf Coast grow lots better than at my 8,000 foot fishing cabin in the Rockies. They are especially worse in the water, as that 55 degree trout stream is not as conducive to the “flesh-eating bacteria” we have recently encountered down here.
Gums reports…

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Jim Gorman
May 21, 2018 12:55 pm

But where do they encounter the antibiotics in the Gulf Coast water or the trout stream in order to build up the resistance? It’s not really the growth rate but the exposure to antibiotics that creates the resistance.

Fred Brohn
May 21, 2018 10:07 am

It is a tale told by idiots!

May 21, 2018 10:10 am

“Then, comparing the database to latitude coordinates as well as mean and medium local temperatures, the team found that higher local average minimum temperatures correlated the strongest with antibiotic resistance.”

No correlations were discovered.
This was a database playacting where commonalities got promoted to causation. A perfect example of how not to do science.
Ignored are critical factors:
1) The greatest contributor to antibiotic resistance is failure to eliminate the bacteria. It is common amongst poor or near illiterate to assume that when they feel good, or the patient looks better, treatment ceases. Letting the patient/medicating person to save/sell/give the remaining doses away; causing donors and recipients to undergo partial antibiotic regimens, greatly facilitating antibiotic resistance.
2) No control group is established. These researchers simply grab data and collate.
3) These researchers utterly ignore the ‘rate of reaction’ equation, where the rate of reaction increases with temperature.
* a) Meaning everything dependent upon chemical reactions, such as bacteria, increase production as temperature rises.
Making this alleged research rediscovering knowledge that has been known for centuries.
Anthropogenic CO₂ has nothing to do with their findings.
It should be noted that preceding historical scientists were far more scientific in their rigor, endeavors and discoveries.

Reply to  ATheoK
May 21, 2018 10:20 am

They just made it all up….
“a 10 °C increase in temperature, an extreme but conceivable scenario for some parts of the United States by the end of this century”

Reply to  ATheoK
May 21, 2018 10:47 am

+10, Atheo.

Steve Case
May 21, 2018 10:11 am

From above:

…could be increasing over time.”
…climate change could be…
We need to continue bringing….
[in money]

Who believes this stuff?

May 21, 2018 10:12 am

I read so long ago now that I can’t remember where, that the soil biologists like Selman Waksman who did a lot of the early work on antibiotics knew that resistance was inevitable. Those early researchers had a much better grasp of ecology than the general medical community does (physicians seem to have only become aware of ecology with the recent interest in gut communities). Anyway, one very old suggestion for preventing the rise of antibiotic resistance was to cycle classes of antibiotics on a few year rotation. Antibiotic resistance is typically lost rather quickly in the absence of the antibiotic in the environment because there is usually a high cost associated with maintaining resistance. If a class of antibiotic were withdrawn from a large geographic area for a few years then reintroduced it might be like having a new antibiotic again. Obviously it would be very difficult to implement such a program but if people were desperate enough, who knows? The concept is still being studied: but it seems not on the scale or with the rigour that the original proponents envisioned.

Steve Case
Reply to  BCBill
May 21, 2018 10:23 am

BCBill at 10:12 am – one very old suggestion for preventing the rise of antibiotic resistance was to cycle classes of antibiotics on a few year rotation.
I’ve thought of that one, I expect a lot of people have. Maybe the general thought is that it won’t work. Dunno, is Penicillin still used? If not maybe it will work again.
I know from experience that the newest antibiotics are nasty. I should have said no.

Reply to  Steve Case
May 21, 2018 10:47 am

The trouble comes from shitholes that have no sanitation but have lots of cheap antibiotics. Sorry to say that, because people there need to live. Yet we can’t much help. Shitholes tend to have very corrupt kings.

Reply to  Steve Case
May 21, 2018 10:55 am

Penicillin V was prescribed to me in 2018.

Reply to  Steve Case
May 21, 2018 1:05 pm
Reply to  Steve Case
May 21, 2018 1:20 pm

It is also used to treat meningococcal infections.
Apparently, Neisseria sp. is still susceptible to the original penicillin, unlike other pathogens like staphylococcus who developed resistance very quickly. Some strains are even resistant to the newer penicillins, (ampicillin, piperacillin…) or even vancomicin.

Reply to  BCBill
May 21, 2018 8:07 pm

BCBill ! BC makes you sound SO OLD !
The rotation is actually used NOW !
As a rule , information is issued regarding susceptibility , and various classes of anti-biotics are
“rested” and others re-introduced or new ones introduced.

May 21, 2018 10:33 am

“Shotgun” anti-microbial therapy has been a common practice for decades and yet we’re to believe that this study has merit? I’ll file this in file 13 right next to the ‘Climate Change will cause increased incidence of Malaria’ file.

Gary Pearse
May 21, 2018 11:04 am

Elevated temperatures KILL bacteria. A fever is the body’s response to infection and before antibiotics it was a major defense offered by the body. As a geologist and mining engineer, I feel it my duty to provide older, established information to a profession that has more papers retracted than any other (because of the rewards it brings – as in climate science).
I look forward to the day (why can’t it begin right now?) when tens of thousands of climate papers are retracted (97%Cook based his consensus study on 12,000 climate papers published during only a ten year period!! i.e. an average of 100 papers a month!! or considering work days a year, SIX CLIMATE PAPERS A DAY!!!). Since these papers were “selected” that mentioned climate change I’m not sure that there weren’t many more thousands of them.
Prior to 1900, I would suspect that all of science wouldnt have published 12,000 papers in total. I’ve searched for figures to no avail except for an unsupported estimate of 50million papers to date. PubMed statistics on scientific publishing has 1.7million in their database. I suggest that a 19th Century scientist could easily have read all the articles (worth the effort) in all the sciences and may explain why scientists were multidisciplinary.Since most of real physics was discovered by the 1920s, the last hundred years, with exponential growth is almost all chaff. Ditto other scientific disciplines. Possibly, only a few dozen papers have been published in disciplines like sociology since they were totally corrupted after the Cold War.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 21, 2018 11:22 am

I think you are correct, Gary, about the temperature CHANGE, The rate of change and not neessariy the absolute value until up above 140 degrees F or so. Right? You know, pasteurization and then home canning in a pressure cooker.
As you point out, really high temps help to kill the microbes, or at least slow down reproduction. I think cold is more effective, but who wants to be chilled down to 85 degrees body temperature? Nevertheless, living down here in the sub-tropics it is evident that reefers do more to keep bacteria under control than ovens. Go thru a few prolonged power outages after a storm and you will see what I mean.
So I think that it is the coupla degrees of change in your body due to a fever that does the trick on those lazy microbes that do not quickly adapt. Or am I all off base?
Gums ponders…

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Gums
May 21, 2018 11:54 am

Higher temps do kill bacteria but there is a threshold that has to be reached. Up thread I made a reference to Vibrio Vulnificus which thrives in warm salt waters when temps are from 65-95 F. This bacteria is often referred to as “flesh eating”, as you did earlier, but it is really not. It is a very dangerous bacteria for those with immune systems that cannot fight it. Most people get it from eating raw shellfish which will give you cholera like symptoms. It can also enter through open wounds, cuts and scrapes if you enter the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If a cut becomes infected by this bacteria and goes untreated it can enter the blood stream and then becomes deadly in 50% of those cases, usually within a matter of 2-3 days. It is very hard to kill once it gets a foothold in the body and it multiples so rapidly the body goes into sepsis very quickly. Good wound care is essential however almost everyone who has died this way has an underlying immune problem, mostly due to liver damage. I swim frequently in the Gulf and until about 3 years ago when I read about this nasty stuff, I would intentionally go into the Gulf with open cuts and scrapes to clean them out. Luckily I have a very strong immune system so no harm so far. But now, after being in the Gulf waters I always wash off with fresh water immediately afterwards especially if I have any cuts or scrapes (usually from landscaping around my house) and apply an antibacterial ointment for the next 72 hours. Even so it is a nerve racking time until I am sure there is no infection. Now someone is going to say “Just stay out of the water if you have cuts or scrapes you dummy.” But when it is one of the few times there are big enough waves to ride, well, you gotta do what you gotta do.

May 21, 2018 11:33 am

More from the “I’m going to make a claim without any evidence and you have to accept it as true unless you can prove it’s false” people.

May 21, 2018 12:00 pm

… have found that higher local temperatures and population densities correlate with a higher degree of antibiotic resistance in common bacterial strains.

Hmmm, population density … more people using antibiotics, more people being prescribed antibiotics, MORE HOSTS, MORE OPPORTUNITIES to multiply outcome of usual failure rate to kill all the little suckers, MORE OPPORTUNITIES for resistant strains to evolve, … and, oh, by the way, temperature is rising a little bit, as this happens, … so let’s make THAT the cause, NOT … POPULATION DENSITY.
Oh, and since it’s a CHILDREN’s hospital associated with the study, the research must be funded for the sake of saving the children.
Am I being overly snarky, or is this as transparently crap-stained as I’m judging it at the moment ?

Giles Bointon
May 21, 2018 12:22 pm

Interesting that many unwell patients who are started on antibiotics are febrile. They usually have temperatures between 37 degrees and up to 41 or 42 degrees centigrade and in children sometimes higher. How can a study not add this as a variable? The ambient temperature they are discussing can only be parts of one degree C.

May 21, 2018 12:35 pm

How many times do the hypesters get to trot out that tired old pony, “it will be worse than we thought” and not realize we are laughing at them, not with them?

May 21, 2018 12:53 pm

Where are the superbugs? Hint: they don’t exist. Why do we still use penicillin after 70 years? It still works.
Pharmaceuticals are sitting on libraries of new antibiotics but they don’t want to bring them to market: why? They aren’t needed and wont sell. They would like to hoodwink the taxpayer into giving them free money though.
The same secular apocalypse people pushing global warming are also pushing the end of antibiotics for the same reasons: to leverage your ignorance and fear into money and power. Same as it ever was.

May 21, 2018 12:54 pm

Another “Remember when …. Oh, never mind” article

May 21, 2018 1:02 pm

I rather think the title if the research paper should be, “Extreme temperature differences have little effect on number of drug-resistant bacterial strains.” After ignoring all sorts of confounding issues, they only managed to tease out a 4.2% increase?
What bothers me is, that despite giving a lot of pertinent numbers here, I did not see the actual numbers producing their results. How many different drug-resistant strains were actually found in each locale? Perhaps the info was provided in the actual paper (surely, it must have been). Too many times I have seen significant-seeming percentages disappear into insignificance when given the actual raw numbers. How many of the pathogens in all those records were drug-resistance strains of the three bacteria studied?

May 21, 2018 1:06 pm

More junk science trying to get more grant money!
The normal human body core temperature is 37 Celsius (98.4 Fahrenheit), but can normally vary a degree above or below that without any apparent illness. As has been rightly said, by several people, a mammal responds to bacterial and viral infection by increasing the body temperature, which tends to kill these organisms. Prior to antibiotics, patients with life-threatening infections reached a point called a “Crisis”, this was the kill or cure mechanism, where either the infectious agent or the patient died as a result of a fever.
First of all everyone is in agreement that that global warming has stalled for the last 20 years (apart from the blip caused by the last El Nino, which was widely predicted), So how has antibiotic resistance increased due to global warming? Secondly, core body temperatures are much higher than the maximum summer temperatures of most of our planets regions. Antibiotic resistance can only be measured in humans (subjectively) or in Petri Dishes (objectively). Can the two be reconciled, I very much doubt it!
To me this “science” makes no sense at all. I would also like to point out that in my career as a dentist in the UK from 1979 – 2015, I treated acute periapical dental abscesses that could not be satisfactorily, or painlessly drained (local anaesthesia does not work well near dental abscesses due to the changed pH of the surrounding soft and hard tissues) by using antibiotics. My first choice (if there was no penicillin allergy) was Phenoxymethylpenicillin 250 mg x 4 x 5 days. If that failed (which it did in about 10% of cases, with no change in this incidence at all, in those 36 years) I would prescribe Metronidazole 200mg x 3 x 7 days. These two drugs work on different bacteria, the former on aerobic (they need oxygen to survive) the latter on anaerobic (oxygen kills them). For someone going on holiday or with a future wedding etc I would prescribe them both. Taking Metronidazole precludes drinking alcohol because this combination produces severe vomiting, hence the non-automatic prescribing of both.
Another scare about the use of antibiotics is not what we want, or need, based on greed for taxpayer funded government grants. This “Study” is an irrelevance!

john cooknell
May 21, 2018 1:51 pm

Some people believe that antibiotics cause all sorts of health problems, people believe lots of things but just because they believe it doesn’t make it true.
The human bodies immune system is the most powerful “antibiotic” known, it can kill almost any pathogen, so to survive bugs have evolved that mimic the bodies own cells, so they don’t get recognised. Unfortunately the immune system then goes into overdrive to try and get rid of the pathogens and then it can start destroying the bodies own cells.
Anything to do with Climate Change, of course not.

May 21, 2018 2:10 pm

The worst known plague in Earth’s history was once attributed not to a fungal pestilence but to man-made “climate change”. Ironically, climate change “researchers” helped spread the disease pathogen (an inconvenient truth not mentioned in the article) to remote jungles:>${CONTACTS_LIST.RIID_?c}&cmpid=org=ngp::mc=crm-email::src=ngp::cmp=editorial::add=wildscience_20180521::urid=${CONTACTS_LIST.RIID_?c}

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
May 21, 2018 2:27 pm

Meanwhile in the U.K. from the BBC says so, so it must be true, department and its correspondent reporting on the Chelsea Flower Show comes the “factual” statement that it has been “proved” that the bacteria you are exposed to gardening make you healthier. Nothing to do with the fresh air or a bit of exercise then. I sometimes wonder if the plan is to simply drown everyone in a constant torrent of claims that it would take so much effort to refute, we will all be bludgeoned into despair.
I’m just waiting for the eruption in Hawaii to be blamed on climate change.
Anyone else feeling like they are in a bad version of Orwell’s 1984?

Dale S
May 21, 2018 2:30 pm

A +10C temperature change for less than a 5% increase in resistance? The true headline should be “Massive temperature increases makes very little difference to antibiotic resistance.”

John Hardy
May 21, 2018 2:33 pm

I cannot believe the number of studies that appear to confuse correlation and causation

May 21, 2018 3:27 pm

Confirmation Bias much? Besides the fact that antibiotics operate in relatively stable environment (inside our bodies), it seems to me that any temperature-related effects might be associated with the method of delivery from the point of manufacture say, via a long-distance delivery service. Antibiotics sitting all day in a UPS, USPS or FedEx truck might not help their efficacy. Assuming no changes in all other factors (‘we can’t think of anything else’) is a classic logical fallacy.

May 21, 2018 3:28 pm

No duh Sherlock, active bacteria multiple faster. I seriously doubt during winter in Montana very many bacteria are multiplying when compared to Florida.

Alan Tomalty
May 21, 2018 3:29 pm

Maybe someone else has pointed this out because I couldnt take the time to read everything but the following passage from the article basically proves that global warming has nothing to do with it.
“Local average minimum temperature increases of 10 degrees Celsius were found to be associated with 4.2, 2.2 and 3.6 percent increases in antibiotic resistant strains of E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and S. aureus, respectively.
More unsettling still, when looking at population density, the team found that an increase of 10,000 people per square mile was associated with three and six percent respective increases in antibiotic resistance in E. coli and K. pneumoniae, which are both Gram-negative species.”
Since even the IPCC says the temperatures globally have not warmed more than 0.7C in a century, this proves that the study was worthless. So now we have climate scientists not only producing worthless studies but actually admitting in the body of their own study that that their study was worthless. When will this madness stop?

Derek Colman
May 21, 2018 4:19 pm

Yes, when there is a correlation, that is cast iron proof. For instance, the number of people who died from drowning in a pool correlates with the number of movies Nicolas Cage appeared in, and the divorce rate in Maine correlates with the per capita consumption of margarine.

May 21, 2018 6:52 pm

We are at Def-Kook-1.
Two Minute Warning!
The CAGW peak-kook cult has now released WMDs (Weapons of Mass Dumbness), and are threatening to use indiscriminate climate dumb-bombs glohally against UHI affected cities, plus to continue to use children and state-media to prevent removal of their climate doomsday-bomb threats—duck ‘n cover!
– ends –

May 22, 2018 2:44 am

How did the researchers control for the effect of air conditioning? Was is robust to test against the local outside temperature, when most test subjects spent most time on average in air conditioning, which takes away much of the rise in minimum (night) temperatures outside? Then, air conditioning is a way to mix and recycle air that contains pathogens. So, test subjects with high exposure to air conditioning might be expected to interact with more pathogens and so increase antibiotic resistance.
Next, how did the experiments control for time spent by test subjects around hospitals, where infections are more common than many places elsewhere? Was there a blind component of nurses and doctors set against a similar sub-set of non-medical people? Then, at the next level on confounding, what was done to reflect that well-paid doctors were more likely to have more time in air conditioning?
This is not an argument that the study should not have been done. But, when you come down to effects that are so small as those reported, you have to take care about noise arising from extraneous variables. My quick take, FWIW, is that noise will blur this experiment into nothingness. Plausibly, it is too hard to do the experiment properly, because there are variables that we cannot even imagine as important, let alone those variables that we now should be studied, but for which there are no data. Geoff

May 22, 2018 4:22 am

Jim Gorman
May 21, 2018 at 12:55 pm
But where do they encounter the antibiotics in the Gulf Coast water or the trout stream in order to build up the resistance? It’s not really the growth rate but the exposure to antibiotics that creates the resistance.
sewage outfalls pure n simply still toxic crap poured out daily by the mega litres
same reason down in aus for nitrogen/toxic etc claims for the damned reef , they keep blaming farmers but sydney n brisbane and parts between dump crap into th oceans and the current spreads it, and stormwater takes home n council abused chem muck from gardens right to sea also

May 22, 2018 4:56 am

“Scientists find link between increases in local temperature and antibiotic resistance” is fake news. You need to be NOT scientist to push such p-hacking claim. A correct headline would be
“new p-hacking: crackpots find link between increases in local temperature and antibiotic resistance”

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