Am J Trop Med Hyg 2019 Jun;100(6):1369-1377
Cleveland VAMC Center for Antimicrobial Resistance and Epidemiology (Case VA CARES), Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.
Surface waters are an unappreciated reservoir of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Poor sanitation brings different species of environmental bacteria into contact, facilitating horizontal gene transfer. To investigate the role of surface waters as potential reservoirs of AMR, we studied the point prevalence of fecal contamination, AMR genes, and Enterobacteriaceae in an urban lake and rural river system in Northeast Brazil in comparison with a lake and sewer system in Northeast Ohio in the United States. Surface water samples were examined for evidence of human fecal contamination using microbial source tracking and screened for plasmid-mediated fluoroquinolone resistance and carbapenemase genes. Enterobacteriaceae were detected using selective agar followed by antimicrobial susceptibility testing and detection of AMR genes by microarray, and classified by repetitive sequence-based polymerase chain reaction and multilocus sequence typing. Concentrations of human fecal bacteria in the Brazilian urban lake and sewage in Northeast Ohio were similarly high. Filtered water samples from the Brazilian urban lake, however, showed the presence of , , , , and , whereas only was identified in raw sewage from Northeast Ohio. From the Brazilian urban lake, 85% of the Enterobacteriaceae ( = 40) cultured were resistant to at least one clinically important antibiotic, including ST131 harboring the extended-spectrum beta-lactamase CTX-M. Although two isolates demonstrated polymyxin resistance, was not detected. Our findings indicate that surface waters in an urban Brazilian site can serve as an environmental reservoir of AMR and that improving wastewater treatment and sanitation generally may ameliorate AMR dissemination.