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  • Patterns of antibiotic-resistant bacteria seen in Galpagos reptiles

    Proximity to human settlements or tourist sites was the best predictor of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Galpagos reptiles. Land iguanas such as this lizard on Isla Fernandina live in remote locations with no human contact and are unlikely to carry resistance genes.

    Proximity to human settlements or tourist sites was the best predictor of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Galpagos reptiles. Land iguanas such as this lizard on Isla Fernandina live in remote locations with no human contact and are unlikely to carry resistance genes.

    Photo by Roderick Mackie

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      Proximity to human settlements or tourist sites was the best predictor of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Galpagos reptiles. Land iguanas such as this lizard on Isla Fernandina live in remote locations with no human contact and are unlikely to carry resistance genes.

      Photo by Roderick Mackie

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      University of Illinois animal sciences professor Roderick Mackie and his colleagues found evidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in reptiles on the Galpagos Islands.

      Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      Marine iguanas, including these on Isla Fernandina, live in large aggregations on the rocky shores of the islands. Some harbored bacteria that were resistant to antibiotics commonly used in humans.

      Photo by Roderick Mackie

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      About 150,000 people visit the Galpagos Islands every year and 25,000 - 30,000 live there. The reptiles with the most exposure to humans, like this iguana in Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, were more likely to harbor multiple antibiotic-resistant bacteria than those in more remote or protected areas, researchers found.

      Photo by Roderick Mackie

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      Tourism to the Galpagos Islands has become an increasing management concern, researchers said, as encounters with humans can spread disease to wildlife. This giant tortoise encounters tourists and researchers at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz.

      Photo by Roderick Mackie

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