Bürgmann H, Frigon D, H Gaze W, M Manaia C, Pruden A, Singer AC, F Smets B, Zhang T (In Press). Water and sanitation: an essential battlefront in the war on antimicrobial resistance. FEMS Microbiol Ecol, 94(9). Abstract. Author URL.
Water and sanitation represent a key battlefront in combatting the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Basic water sanitation infrastructure is an essential first step towards protecting public health, thereby limiting the spread of pathogens and the need for antibiotics. AMR presents unique human health risks, meriting new risk assessment frameworks specifically adapted to water and sanitation-borne AMR. There are numerous exposure routes to AMR originating from human waste, each of which must be quantified for its relative risk to human health. Wastewater treatment plants play a vital role in centralized collection and treatment of human sewage, but there are numerous unresolved issues in terms of the microbial ecological processes occurring within them and the extent to which they attenuate or amplify AMR. Research is needed to advance understanding of the fate of resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in various waste management systems, depending on the local constraints and intended reuse applications. World Health Organization and national AMR action plans would benefit from a more holistic 'One Water' understanding. In this article we provide a framework for research, policy, practice and public engagement aimed at limiting the spread of AMR from water and sanitation in low-, medium- and high-income countries.
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