I spent the day in Uppsala – the old student town where I once did my undergraduate studies in Biology. It was good to be back, to meet some great friends and collaborators, and – of course – to attend the thesis defense of Badrul Hasan!
Badrul came to Sweden from Bangladesh four years ago and have spent time both with us at Linnaeus University and at Uppsala University. It was great to see him present his thesis – calm, confident and skilled!
So what has Badrul done? The topic of the thesis is very timely – antimicrobial resistance in wildlife. By sampling wild birds, domestic poultry and humans in different areas of Bangladesh, Badrul tries to connect the various sources of resistance in an epidemiological framework.
Sometimes the thesis is akin to a horror-story! The situation in Bangladesh is alarming, to say the least – with widespread occurrence of multidrug resistance, beta-lactamase producing Escherichia coli more or less wherever you stick your sampling swab, and unrestricted use (or rather misuse) of antibiotics in agriculture and aquaculture. A ticking bomb.
In one of Badrul’s studies, he investigated the carriage of resistant bacteria in Indian House Crows at two hospital campuses. The crows were thriving, feeding on waste put out in the yard – a mixture of surgical leftovers, patient’s food and normal garbage. And the antibiotic resistant bacteria were thriving too. The close connection between humans and crows is evident, and there aren’t any closed doors between indoors and outdoors. What we select for in agriculture and in human medicine in terms of resistant bacteria are the very same infections that later will be close to impossible to treat when our children’s children get sick.
Or quoting Badrul:
“Every morning you wake up in bed, you hear a crow”
Some links to Badrul’s published papers: