To establish a possible role for the natural environment in the transmission of clinically relevant AMR bacteria to humans, a literature review was conducted to systematically collect and categorize evidence for human exposure to extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and vancomycin-resistantEnterococcus spp. in the environment. In total, 239 datasets adhered to inclusion criteria. AMR bacteria were detected at exposure-relevant sites (35/38), including recreational areas, drinking water, ambient air, and shellfish, and in fresh produce (8/16). More datasets were available for environmental compartments (139/157), including wildlife, water, soil, and air/dust. Quantitative data from exposure-relevant sites (6/35) and environmental compartments (11/139) were scarce. AMR bacteria were detected in the contamination sources (66/66) wastewater and manure, and molecular data supporting their transmission from wastewater to the environment (1/66) were found. The abundance of AMR bacteria at exposure-relevant sites suggests risk for human exposure. Of publications pertaining to both environmental and human isolates, however, only one compared isolates from samples that had a clear spatial and temporal relationship, and no direct evidence was found for transmission to humans through the environment. To what extent the environment, compared to the clinical and veterinary domains, contributes to human exposure needs to be quantified. AMR bacteria in the environment, including sites relevant for human exposure, originate from contamination sources. Intervention strategies targeted at these sources could therefore limit emission of AMR bacteria to the environment.

Publicatie in Environ. Sci. Technol., 2015, 49 (20), pp 11993–12004


Auteurs: Huijbers PMC†‡, Blaak H, de Jong MCM, Graaf EAM, Vandenbroucke-Grauls§ CMJE, de Roda Husman AM‡∥

 Quantitative Veterinary Epidemiology Group, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS),Wageningen University, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands

 Centre for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology, Centre for Infectious Disease Control (CIb),National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands

§ Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, VU University Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80178, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands

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