Microbiology and Immunology
The emergence and dissemination of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB) is currently seen as one of the major threats to human and animal public health. Veterinary use of antimicrobials in both developing and developed countries is many-fold greater than their use in human medicine and is an important determinant in selection of ARB. In light of the recently outlined National Plan Against Antimicrobial Resistance in Chile, our findings on antimicrobial use in salmon aquaculture and their impact on the environment and human health are highly relevant. Ninety-five percent of tetracyclines, phenicols and quinolones imported into Chile between 1998 and 2015 were for veterinary use, mostly in salmon aquaculture. Excessive use of antimicrobials at aquaculture sites was associated with antimicrobial residues in marine sediments 8 km distant and the presence of resistant marine bacteria harboring easily transmissible resistance genes, in mobile genetic elements, to these same antimicrobials. Moreover, quinolone and integron resistance genes in human pathogens isolated from patients in coastal regions adjacent to aquaculture sites were identical to genes isolated from regional marine bacteria, consistent with genetic communication between bacteria in these different environments. Passage of antimicrobials into the marine environment can potentially diminish environmental diversity, contaminate wild fish for human consumption, and facilitate the appearance of harmful algal blooms and resistant zoonotic and human pathogens. Our findings suggest that changes in aquaculture in Chile that prevent fish infections and decrease antimicrobial usage will prove a determining factor in preventing human and animal infections with multiply-resistant ARB in accord with the modern paradigm of One Health.
Millanao, A., Barrientos-Schaffeld, C., Siegel-Tike, C., Tomova, A., Ivanova, L., Godfrey, H., Dolz, H., Buschmann, A., & Cabello, F. (2018). Antimicrobial Resistance in Chile and The One Health Paradigm: Dealing with Threats to Human and Veterinary Health Resulting from Antimicrobial Use in Salmon Aquaculture and the Clinic. Revista Chilena de Infectologia, 35 (3), 299-308. https://doi.org/10.4067/s0716-10182018000300299
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