The Hudson Is Teeming With Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria


You better think twice about jumping into the Hudson for a skinny dip. Or any kind of dip, really. Researchers at Columbia have found strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria up and down the banks of the Hudson River.

The study focused on resistance to two of the most common medicines prescribed for bacterial infections, ampicillin and tetracycline.

Microbiologist Andrew Juhl and his team discovered that after repeated visits to 10 locations along Manhattan, Long Island, and further north in the Hudson Valley, sample bacteria tested resistant to ampicillin 84 percent of the time and tetracycline 38 percent of the time. Flushing Bay near LaGuardia and Newtown Creek showed the highest levels of these critters.

Where did this bacteria come from? The spots with the highest concentration of these microbes were also the spots along the river where the most sewage was being dumped. If so, there’s already reason enough to stay away from these segments of the river.