Escola Superior de Biotecnologia

CBQF coordinates first study of integrated antibiotic resistance surveillance in European wastewater treatment plants

Saturday, March 28, 2019 - 12:15

A research team from CBQF, led by researcher Célia Manaia, was responsible for the first European study of antibiotic resistance surveillance in European Waste Water Treatment Plants (ETARs). The project "Stopping antibiotic Resistance Evolution - Stare" involved 7 European countries (Portugal, Spain, Ireland, Cyprus, Germany, Finland and Norway) and 13 municipal WWTPs. The study was published this week in the journal Science Advances.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) resistance to antibiotics is considered one of the greatest threats to public health worldwide. In Europe, levels of antibiotic resistance in clinical settings, particularly in hospitals, have been monitored for more than a decade and have shown that southern European countries have higher prevalence values than those in the North. Portugal is in the group of European countries where the clinical situation is more worrisome. Of strong clinical threat, antibiotic-resistant bacteria have also become an important environmental contaminant, the most serious implication of which could be transmission to humans, for example through leisure or food. In urban settings, domestic sewage treatment plants, including hospital sewage, are a major source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for the environment.

This European project, funded by the national funding agencies associated with the Water Joint Programming Initiative (Water JPI), involved partners from different European countries and sought to understand whether the scenario of occurrence of antibiotic resistance in sewage, before and after treatment, coincided with what is observed in clinical environment.

The conclusions point to a situation that, as in the clinical environment, is more worrying in the countries of southern Europe (Portugal, Cyprus, Spain) and also in Ireland, than in the North (Germany, Finland, Norway) . Factors such as antibiotic consumption, room temperature, as well as the size of the treatment plant may contribute to the persistence and spread of antibiotic resistance in the environment.

Global implementation of integrated environmental resistance monitoring programs will be crucial if control measures are to be implemented, if appropriate, suited to different geographic regions. The study was published this week in the journal Science Advances.

 

March 2019

 

Related articles:

Scientists Look For Antibiotic-Resistant Germs In Raw Sewage [NPR]

Portugal com elevados níveis de resistência a antibióticos nas águas residuais [Público online]