“ Come fly with me but don’t poop with me… air-poop is toxic and dangerous ”

  • More than 90 percent of the microbes found in airplane sewage are resistant to at least one type of antibiotic.
  • Infections that arise from antibiotic-resistant microbes can be extremely difficult to treat and even be deadly.
  • Researchers say more care needs to be placed in containing and maintaining the sewage.

Ready for takeoff? So are antibiotic-resistant microbes. 

Scientists tested airplane sewage from five different German airports and discovered it contained a significantly higher abundance and diversity of antibiotic-resistant microbes, compared to sewage tested at a nearby wastewater plant and even nearby hospitals, according to research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. 

“This study clearly shows that the antibiotic-resistance problem is a global problem, and a global effort is necessary to tackle this severe threat for human and animal health,” microbiologist Stefanie Hess of Technische Universität Dresden in Germany told Science News.

About 90 percent of the 187 E. coli strains tested were resistant to at least one antibiotic, the study reports. That's compared to samples from waste treatment facilities, where 45 to 60 percent were found to be resistant to antibiotics.

The World Health Organization has labeled antibiotic resistance as one of the "biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today." Infections like strep throat, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and foodborne illnesses can be made worse and more difficult to treat as a result of antibiotic resistance. 

Researchers Find Method to Turn Bacteria Non-Toxic

Microbes develop resistance to medicines and treatments because of small changes to their DNA. They can transfer this resistance back and forth between other microbes they encounter. 

Traditionally, hospitals have come under scrutiny for being a breeding ground for these antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study’s authors recommend that public health officials manage and treat sewage from airports much more carefully. 


(Swiss accused of cutting the cheese too often) 

Zurich, Switzerland - A Miami bound Swiss International Air Lines flight had to return to the departure airport in Zurich when the crew noticed the all toilets in the aircraft were broken.

On December 20, a SWISS International Airlines flight from Zurich to Miami was forced to return after three hours from the departure due to the broken toilets.

The aircraft was over Atlantic, west of Ireland, when the problem was discovered. The pilots of the SWISS Airbus A330-300 decided to return to Zurich when the problem was reported by the cabin crew.

Technicians fixed the broken toilets of the aircraft at the Zurich Airport. The problem was identified as a defect in the wastewater system, which took around four hours to fix.

The flight eventually took off from Zurich for Miami again with eight hours of schedule delay.

“Of course, it’s very unpleasant when something like this happens,” a Swiss International Air Lines spokesperson told the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA.