By Tim Kowols
Sediment in Kewaunee County rivers could harbor antibiotic-resistant genes caused by agricultural contamination according to a Marquette University study. Researchers collected data from 20 different watershed sites located by Kewaunee County confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) multiple times from July 2016 to May 2017. It found the number of antibiotic-resistant genes would jump during periods of field fertilization in the county when antibiotics used to treat sick animals could be spread by manure. Field runoff would then bring excess waste into area water streams and even sit in the sediment. Lynn Utesch from Kewaunee CARES says the study shows health care professionals where they need to start looking when patients are admitted with diseases resistant to antibiotics.
The report, which is posted below, also confirms previous studies showing the impact non-point agricultural pollution has on the surface waters in Kewaunee County. The three watersheds tested during the yearlong study all appear on the state’s impaired waters list.