Antibiotic Resistance – The Global Status of Research

A 2011 World Health Organization report identified antibiotic resistance (AR) as “one of the three greatest threats to human health” (WHO, 2011). Recent scientific studies suggest that reclaimed water may be an important reservoir of ARG (AR genes) and indicated a link between recycled water and environmental occurrence of AR (Fahrenfeld et al., 2013). Although typically linked to clinical settings, ARG have also been observed in treated wastewater and in the general environment. In U.S. EPA guidelines on water reuse, the presence of antibiotics as trace organic contaminants in wastewater is noted and a need for more information is acknowledged to reduce the proliferation of AR and protect public health (U.S. EPA, 2012).
Leading researchers and water quality stakeholders will discuss international research activities and programs including the current state of the science related to antibiotic resistance in wastewater. The speakers will provide a brief overview of research programs for AR in the U.S., Canada, the European Union, and Asia. They will highlight and summarize the recent Global Water Research Coalition workshop on Antibiotic Resistance in the Water Environment. The speakers will also discuss ongoing and planned research activities on WE&RF’s collaborative research project Occurrence, Proliferation, and Persistence of Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance during Wastewater Treatment. 

This is a joint WEF/WE&RF webcast.