Patients in warmer climates face higher risk of drug-resistant infections

A study published in <i>Nature Climate Change</i> suggests that patients who live in warmer climates could face a greater risk of acquiring a drug-resistant infection.

A study published in <i>Nature Climate Change</i> suggests that patients who live in warmer climates could face a greater risk of acquiring a drug-resistant infection. The study by researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and the University of Toronto revealed that a 10-degree Celsius increase in an area's daily minimum temperature was linked to a slight increase in resistance in several pathogens. The research was based on a large-scale data collection initiative to develop an online application to provide the locations of drug-resistant bacteria. The website allows users to enter their postal code and determine which drug-resistant infections are in their community. Researchers used the tool to identify new patterns in drug resistance, such as by looking at hospital records for clinical sensitivity test results. They gathered data from 223 facilities in 41 states and evaluated the results of 22.8 million diagnostic tests, representing 1.6 million bacterial strains. The study targeted three of the most common drug-resistant strains: <i>Escherichia coli</i>, <i>Klebsiella pneumoniae</i>, and <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i>. The 10-degree C increase in temperature was linked to increases in antibiotic resistance of 4%, 2%, and 3%, respectively, in these strains. The researchers found a similarly significant effect after controlling for antibiotic prescription rate, population density, and laboratory standards.