Existing evidence on antibiotic resistance exposure and transmission to humans from the environment: a systematic map

  22 March 2022

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is predicted to become the leading cause of death by 2050 with antibiotic resistance being an important component. Anthropogenic pollution introduces antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) to the natural environment. Currently, there is limited empirical evidence demonstrating whether humans are exposed to environmental AMR and whether this exposure can result in measurable human health outcomes. In recent years there has been increasing interest in the role of the environment and disparate evidence on transmission of AMR to humans has been generated but there has been no systematic attempt to summarise this. We aim to create two systematic maps that will collate the evidence for (1) the transmission of antibiotic resistance from the natural environment to humans on a global scale and (2) the state of antibiotic resistance in the environment in the United Kingdom.

Both maps can be used by policy makers to show the global (Map 1) and UK (Map 2) research landscapes and provide an overview of the state of AMR in the environment and human health impacts of interacting with the environment. We have also identified (1) clusters of research which may be used to perform meta-analyses and (2) gaps in the evidence base where future primary research should focus.

Further reading: Environ. Evid.
Author(s): Isobel Catherine Stanton et al
Clean Environment  
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