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The scourge of antibiotic resistance: the important role of the environment.

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David Graham


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Antibiotic resistance and associated genes are ubiquitous and ancient, with most genes that encode resistance in human pathogens having originated in bacteria from the natural environment (e.g. β-lactamases and fluoroquinolones resistance genes, such as qnr). The rapid evolution and spread of “new” antibiotic resistance genes has been enhanced by modern human activity and its influence on the environmental resistome. This highlights the importance of including the role of the environmental vectors, such as bacterial genetic diversity within soil and water, in resistance risk management. We need to take more steps to decrease the spread of resistance genes in environmental bacteria into human pathogens, to decrease the spread of resistant bacteria to people and animals via foodstuffs, wastes and water, and to minimize the levels of antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria introduced into the environment. Reducing this risk must include improved management of waste containing antibiotic residues and antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Finley RL, Collignon P, Larsson DGJ, McEwen SA, Li X-Z, Gaze WH, Reid-Smith R, Timinouni M, Graham DW, Topp E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Infectious Diseases

Year: 2013

Volume: 57

Issue: 5

Pages: 704-710

Print publication date: 01/09/2013

Online publication date: 30/05/2013

Acceptance date: 15/05/2013

ISSN (print): 1058-4838

ISSN (electronic): 1537-6591

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/cid/cit355


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