Antibiotic Resistance in Septic Effluent . 2011 National Environmental Health Association Meeting Crispin Pierce, Sasha Showsh, and Eli Gottfried (faculty) Tola Ekunsanmi , Michael Checkai , Jay Nielsen, Jacob Schafer, Michael Servi and Matt Haak (students) University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
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2011 National Environmental Health Association Meeting
Crispin Pierce, Sasha Showsh, and Eli Gottfried (faculty)
TolaEkunsanmi, Michael Checkai, Jay Nielsen, Jacob Schafer, Michael Servi and Matt Haak (students)
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
When food animals are treated with antibiotics to speed growth or compensate for dirty, crowded and stressful conditions, bacteria resistant to these drugs proliferate and enter humans through meat consumption. Similarly, over-prescription and improper disposal of antibiotics lead to ground and surface water contamination, and entry into humans from drinking water. (Photo: agmates.com)
Transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is highest in confined populations such as hospitalized patients, college students living in dormitories, prison inmates, and athletes (football players on artificial turf have 15-fold higher prevalence rates). Populations most likely to develop disease and death are children, elderly, and immune-compromised individuals. (Photo: http://abopposito.blogspot.com/)
These bacteria in turn cause extensive disease and death: methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) alone causes 15–20,000 deaths in the United States each year (4).
Hypothesis: Agricultural fields receiving land spreading of septic system effluent will have higher levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria than fields without spreading.
Thirteen soil samples (7 control and 6 treated) were collected from a crop field near Eau Claire treated with septic system effluent (Figs. 1 and 2). These samples were mixed with water and plated on Colombian Blood Agar and four antibiotics (chloramphenicol, tetracycline, erythromycin and ampicillin, Fig. 3).
Fig. 1 methicillin-resistant staphylococcus Land spreading of septic tank effluent.http://www.limemaster.com/Land_Spreading.html
Although the fraction of antibiotic-resistant colonies tended to be higher for control vs. treated samples, this apparent difference did not reach a significance of p<0.05 (one-tailed t-test, equal variance, Fig. 4).
Fig. 4 methicillin-resistant staphylococcus Colony growth and fraction of antibiotic resistance in control and treated (septic effluent-applied) samples for five antibiotics.
In this small study, treatment of an agricultural field with septic system effluent did not significantly change the fraction of bacteria that were resistant to five antibiotics (Kanamycin, Tetracycline, Eosine Methylene Blue, Erythromycin and Ampicillin).
Bacterial antibiotic resistance generated from a large retail store, small chain restaurant and convalescent home was measured. Several samples of effluent from the respective septic systems were analyzed for bacterial resistance to ampicillin, kanamycin, tetracycline, and erythromycin.
The restaurant contained higher levels of resistance to ampicillin, kanamycin, and tetracycline than the store or convalescent home, with an average of 51.79%, 27.54%, and 30.78% of microbial growth resistant to the respective antibiotics.
Erythromycin resistance was highest in effluent discharged from the convalescent home at 22% compared to the store at 7.00% and restaurant at 2.87%.
Our research analyzed wastewater effluent from a rehabilitation and convalescent facility, a “big-box” store, a local chain restaurant, and septic sewage spread agricultural and untreated soils. We found that wastewater and soil samples contained fractions of antibiotic resistant bacteria from 0.5—52%.
Wisconsin State Division of Health:
1. Wisconsin Division of Public Health Bureau of Communicable Diseases and Preparedness Guidelines for Prevention and Control of Antibiotic Resistant Organisms in Health Care Settings, September, 2005.
2. Herberer, Thomas. "Toxicology Letters: Occurrence, Fate, and Removal of Pharmaceutical Residues in the Aquatic Environment: a Review of Recent Research Data." ScienceDirect. 15 Mar. 2002. Toxicology Letters. 7 Apr. 2008
3. "Antibiotic-eating germ alarms doctors - Enterococcus faecium bacterium survives on diet of the antibiotic vancomycin - Biomedicine - Brief Article". Science News. Dec 21, 1996.
4. Pew Charitable Trusts. “Human Health and Antibiotic use in Industrial Farming” 2010.
Paterson, David . "Update on Antibiotic Resistance in Hospitals." The Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance in the Hospital Setting. 2006. 20 Apr 2007 <http://www.medscape.com/editorial/cmetogo/5541>.
Fridkin, Scott K. et al. "Temporal Changes in Prevalence of Antimicrobial Resistance in 23 U.S. Hospitals." Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 8, No. 7,(2002): 697-701.
Lipsitch, Marc. "The epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in hospitals:Paradoxes and prescriptions." PNAS vol.97(2000): 1938-1943.
Contact Information from the convalescent home at 22% compared to the store at 7.00% and restaurant at 2.87%.