Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Sam Alvey

Second Advisor

Grant Hokit

Third Advisor

Joan Stottlemyer

Abstract

Recent studies on antibiotic resistance show conflicting results as to the extent that environmental factors may play in the increase of drug resistance among general populations. One hundred and fifty-four adults living in Helena, Montana were surveyed for antibiotic drug use history, and their surface flora were tested for resistance against ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, penicillin, sulfisoxazole, and tetracycline. In this study, very high levels of antibiotic resistance are seen throughout the individuals tested, most prominently to penicillin and sulfisoxazole. As high as 99% of participants had microorganisms resistant to two or more antibiotics. Results suggest that demographic factors such as age and gender do not play a role in increasing antibiotic resistance. Also, recent use of antibiotics, extended or incorrect use of antibiotics, use of antibacterial soap, and increased hand washing habits do not appear to be correlated with increased antibiotic resistance.

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