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Diagnostics Cancer Infectious Disease

Dangerous Germs Amass on Mass Transit

5 years, 2 months ago

3007  0
Posted on Mar 16, 2015, 6 a.m.

Environmental DNA sampling in New York City’s (USA) mass transit system reveals that drug-resistant bacteria lurk in subway stations.

Results of Pathomap, a project sampling environmental DNA in New York City, suggest that pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics lurk in the city’s subway stations.  Led by Chris Mason, from Weill Cornell Medical College (New York, USA), a group of high school students swabbed benches and turnstyles in 5 NYC subway stations.  The samples were then cultured in Petri dishes containing three commonly used antibiotics. Bacteria from five of the 18 swabs she tested grew in spite of the presence of either ampicillin or kanamycin, and in one case, both. The study authors write that: “Our data indicate that densely populated, highly trafficked areas of human transit show strong evidence of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and some presence of potentially pathogenic organisms.”

For more information on SNIFFPHONE: Reference for Sia et al: Guo TW, Laksanasopin T, Sridhara AA, Nayak S, Sia SK.  “Mobile device for disease diagnosis and data tracking in resource-limited settings.”  Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1256:3-14; reported at:

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