Rivers around the world contaminated with antibiotics. In some places, limits exceeded 300 times

A new study of 72 countries around the world shows that antibiotic concentrations in some rivers exceed levels considered safe by up to 300 times. This contamination is one of the key pathways through which bacteria can develop resistance to antibiotics.

Rivers around the world, from the Thames to the Tigris, have reported dangerously high levels of the antibioticow. Researchers at the University of York, ktoThose who led the study believe it is directly linked to an increase in drug-resistant bacteria. The problem is growing into one of the majorown health risks.

In their study, the scientists looked for 14 commonly used antibioticsoin rivers in 72 countries on six continents. According to the analysis, they found them in 65 percent of the. monitored sites.

The most common antibiotic in the rivers was trimethoprim, whichory was detected in 307 of the 711 sites tested. It is mainlyownie used in the treatment of infections of drog urinary. But the compound, whichory most frequently exceeded safe levels, at 51 sites, was Ciprofloxacin – an antibiotic used to treat many bacterial infections.

In contrast, the highest exceedance of standards was recorded for metronidazole, ktory is most commonly used to treat bacterial infections skory and oral. In one of the sites tested in Bangladesh, its concentration exceeded by as much as 300 times the level considered safe. The country also had the highest concentration of antibioticow. In the Thames and one of its tributariesow scientists have detected the total concentration of the antibioticow at a level of 233 nanogramsow per liter (ng/l), while in Bangladesh the concentration was as much as 170 times higher.

But what are the safe limits? In the study, the researchers adopted a scale established by the AMR Industry Alliance. According to her, depending on the antibiotic, the level considered safe ranges from 20-32000 ng/l.

According to AMR Industry Alliance levels, limits were most often exceeded in Asia and Africa, but rivers in Europe, America PoNorth and South America roalso showed high concentrations of antibioticow. Rivers, on the other hand, in ktohe concentrations of antibioticsoin exceeded safe levels to the greatest extent, were located in Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria.

In Europe, such rivers include the Danube in Austria. Seven antibiotics were found in itow, including clarithromycin, used to treat infections of drog respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, whichorej the concentration was almost four times the level considered safe. This shows that the Danube, the second largest river in Europe, is the most contaminated with antibiotics on the continent.

– This is quite depressing. Large parts of the environment can be contaminated with antibiotics at levels high enough to affect immunity, said Alistair Boxall, who works on environmental protection at the University of York, wsporoutor of research. – Solving the problem will be a huge challenge and will require investment in waste treatment infrastructureoin and sewageow, tighter regulation and treatment of already contaminated sites of – added.

– Many genoin resistance, whichore we see in human pathogens, comes from environmental bacteria – wtohe e d a colleague of prof. William Gaze of the University of Exeter, whoory is studying the battery’s resistance to antibiotics. Gaze was not involved in the study. But even rivers in which ktorich antibiotic concentrationsow did not exceed the established limitsow are a threat. – Even the low concentrations seen in Europe may drive the evolution of resistance and increase the likelihood of gene transmissionoin resistance to human pathogens – added Gaze.

Studies have shown that the areas with the highest recorded contamination in theod antibiotics were usually adjacent to sewage treatment systemsow, waste dumpsoin or sites shedding effluentoin and in someorych areas of political turmoil, including the Israeli and Palestinian borders.

– To date, most environmental monitoring work on antibioticow was carried out in Europe, America PoNorth and China. Often only a handful of antibioticow. We know very little about the scale of the problem worldwide. Our study helps fill this crucial knowledge gap by generating data for the country’sow whichore never monitored before – said Dr. John Wilkinson, whoory coordinated the research work.