Two Washington State University researchers are featured in a New York Times health story documenting the scourge of antibiotic resistance in an impoverished Kenyan community.

Palmer in front of building
Guy Palmer

While antibiotic resistance is often thought of as a first-world problem, it is exacerbated in communities like Kibera, where one study found nine out of ten households had used antibiotics in the past year. Meanwhile, “squalid and crowded living conditions, lax oversight of antibiotic use and a scarcity of affordable medical care are fueling the spread of infections increasingly unresponsive to drugs.”

“We can’t effectively mitigate the growing problem of antibiotic resistance without dealing with places like Kibera,” said Guy Palmer, Regents professor of pathology and infectious diseases and senior director of Global Health.

Omulo Sylvia in WSU lab
Sylvia Adhiambo Omulo

The 2,500-word feature describes Sylvia Adhiambo Omulo, a global health assistant professor, as “stunned by the ubiquity of resistant pathogens like E. coli” in the community.

“It’s in the soil, it’s on the kale people eat, and also on the hands of adults and children,” she told the Times. “It’s no wonder people here are constantly sick.”