For some time now, antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains have been found in the human population, in foods, in livestock and wild animals, as well as in surface waters. The entry of antibiotics and resistant bacterial strains into the environment plays an important role in the spread of antibiotic resistance. The goal of the present study was to monitor the entry of antibiotic resistances into the environment through the contamination of wastewater. To assess the extent of transmission of antibiotic resistances from human sources into the environment, the resistance patterns of Escherichia coli strains isolated from human patients have been compared to those found in strains isolated from sewage sludge. Our results may indicate if resistances to particular antibiotics are more prone than others to spread into the environment. To monitor the increase of specific resistances over time, samples taken in the years 2000 and 2009 were analysed. Our study shows that for some antibiotics a parallel development of resistance patterns has taken place in both patient and environmental samples over time. For other sets of antibiotics, independent developments have occurred in the samples. A clear increase of multi-resistant E. coli strains over time was observed in samples from both sources.

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