- The mcr-1 gene can cause a resistance to life saving antibiotics
- Dog owners are being warned not to share a bed with their pet
- The mcr-1 gene, first found in China in 2015, can be passed on to humans through sharing a bed with dogs, or via pet basket.
- Research revealed the “nightmare scenario” after finding the antibiotic-resistant gene could be transmitted to people
The gene, which was first identified in China 2015, could kill as many as 10 million a year by 2050 if left unchecked. Scientists are urging people not to regularly share beds with domestic dogs which harbour mcr-1, which is in the gut and transported via microscopic fecal particles.
Do you share your bed with your dog?
Dog baskets are also a hotspot risk area due to frequent contact with humans.
The mcr-1 gene is resistant to colistin, an antibiotic used to defeat bacterial infections which other drugs can not tackle.
Experts have warned for years that overuse of colistin, especially on meat-producing animals, risks the rise of mutant genes that could make the drug useless.
Fecal samples was taken from 126 healthy people living with 102 cats and dogs in 80 households over the two years up to February 2020.
Results confirmed that eight of the dogs and four humans were found to be harbouring bacteria including mcr-1.
Three of the dogs appeared to be healthy, the others having tissue or urinary tract infections.
The study was presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases conference.
Dr Juliana Menezes, who led the research, said: “Colistin is used when all other antibiotics have failed, it is a crucial treatment of last resort.
“If bacteria resistant to all drugs acquire this resistance gene, they would become untreatable, and that’s a scenario we must avoid at all costs.
“We know that the overuse of antibiotics drives resistance and it is vital that they are used responsibly, not just in medicine but also in veterinary medicine and in farming.”