Researchers at Washington State University’s Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (Allen School) and Universidad del Vale de Guatemala (UVG) have found a strong association between poor hygiene and antibiotic use and colonization of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria in humans.
Their study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, stresses the need for better sanitation and hygiene practice to slow the spread of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.
“Poor sanitation has a primary effect on antimicrobial resistance so investing in better infrastructure will help reduce the incidence of AMR infections”, says co-author Dr. Mark Caudell, AMR coordinator, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The current findings are parts of a large study that is undergoing to understand the pattern of patterns of antibiotic use and regulations, access to human and animal healthcare services, and sanitation impact AMR patterns in high- and low-income countries.
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Antibiotic resistance has become a major health challenge for developing countries. Just a few days ago, a research was published in the journal Microbial Biotechnology, which said that it was not only caused by the overuse of antibiotics. It’s also caused by pollution.
In the current study, the researchers surveyed households in rural and urban Guatemalan communities. They tried to find whether population density, access to antibiotic therapies, sanitation and hygiene are factors responsible for the spread of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli.
Other factors examined by the researchers included open defecation, food preparation and milk consumption practices.
Results confirmed that AMR was associated with increasing frequency of antibiotic use, poor household hygiene levels, milk consumption, and diarrhea episodes.
Improved antibiotic stewardship, including control of unregulated access to antibiotics is critical to reducing the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, but stewardship alone will not successfully impact the prevalence of resistance when hygiene is compromised,” stated Dr. Brooke Ramay, co-lead researcher and professor with Allen School and UVG.
According to the WHO, Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi.
AMR is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society.
Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics).