Water quality tests in Ireland are not good enough – the real picture is a lot worse
Some 73% of the 148 beaches and lakes which are formally designated as swimming spots are deemed to be of an excellent standard under EU testing rules. Overall, 96% meet the minimum standards. However, a group of researchers at NUI Galway Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbial Ecology (ARME) group have recently detected antibiotic-resistant bacteria in swimming spots that are designated as of good or excellent quality. These bacteria were detected in every water sample and just over half of the bacteria that isolated from the water were multidrug-resistant. These superbugs are resistant to multiple second-line antibiotics, normally used to treat infections when the first line antibiotics fail. In five water samples, CPE was found – the most worrying type of superbugs. These are resistant to even the last-resort antibiotics, the carbapenems.