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Researchers Say Humans Can Catch Killer Diseases From Keeping Tropical Fish As Pets

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Jordan Shepherd

While your tropical fish collection may look awesome, the colorful pets may be carrying killer diseases that you could contract.

A study from Oregon State University has discovered a “disturbing” amount of tropical fish are already resistant to antibiotics.

This means that fish imported from other countries could carry bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics, and that they could be spread to humans.

In the study, published by the Journal of Fish Diseases, 32 freshwater fish of various species were tested for resistance to nine different drugs.

The fish came from Colombia, Singapore and Florida, and were tested in Portland, Oregon.

There was some form of resistance to every antibiotic, with 77 percent of the fish being resistant to the most common antibiotic, tetracycline.

“We expected to find some antibiotic resistance, but it was surprising to find such high levels,” said Tim Miller-Morgan, a veterinary aquatics specialist with Oregon State University.

The fish were found to carry bacterial infections including Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus, which can both affect humans.

To avoid the risk, Miller-Morgan says you should only buy healthy fish and avoid cleaning tanks with open cuts or sores on your skin. 

Jordan Shepherd | Elite.

Jordan Shepherd

Jordan Shepherd

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