Studies to Focus on Antibiotic Resistance in Plumbing Systems

Virginia Tech professors awarded research contracts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Studies to Focus on Antibiotic Resistance in Plumbing Systems

Amy Pruden and Marc Edwards, professors at Virginia Tech, are leading new studies examining antibiotic-resistant pathogens in plumbing systems. (Photo from Virginia Tech)

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Antibiotic resistance in hospital plumbing systems is part of new studies recently commissioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Given that about 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses per year in the U.S. are attributed to bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics, the CDC is launching an effort to study different facets of the threat. Amy Pruden and Marc Edwards, Virginia Tech University professors, have been awarded two research contracts as part of that effort.

Pruden will specifically be looking at the presence of pathogens and resistance genes in the context of wastewater recycling and reuse. Edwards will lead a research project focused on the potential for pathogens to colonize drinking water systems in hospitals. A pipe bioreactor system that simulates building plumbing was developed in order to test the effectiveness of disinfectants, like those used in hospital plumbing. The team’s goal is to identify which disinfectants are most effective at killing off antibiotic-resistant pathogens while not also eradicating the competition for such bacteria. The study will compare chlorine, chloramine, chlorine dioxide, copper-silver and no disinfectant at all in terms of ability to control pathogens in a range of pipe materials, including copper, plastic and iron.

Source: Virginia Tech News


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