Human Colonization with Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria from Nonoccupational Exposure to Domesticated Animals in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Critical Review
Jenna M. Swarthout, Elana M. G. Chan, Denise Garcia, Maya L. Nadimpalli, and Amy J. Pickering
Environ Sci Technol. 2022 Aug 10. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 35947446 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.2c01494
Data on community-acquired antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are particularly sparse in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Limited surveillance and oversight of antibiotic use in food-producing animals, inadequate access to safe drinking water, and insufficient sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in LMICs could exacerbate the risk of zoonotic antibiotic resistance transmission. This critical review compiles evidence of zoonotic exchange of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB) or antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) within households and backyard farms in LMICs, as well as assesses transmission mechanisms, risk factors, and environmental transmission pathways. Overall, substantial evidence exists for exchange of antibiotic resistance between domesticated animals and in-contact humans. Whole bacteria transmission and horizontal gene transfer between humans and animals were demonstrated within and between households and backyard farms. Further, we identified water, soil, and animal food products as environmental transmission pathways for exchange of ARB and ARGs between animals and humans, although directionality of transmission is poorly understood. Herein we propose study designs, methods, and topical considerations for priority incorporation into future One Health research to inform effective interventions and policies to disrupt zoonotic antibiotic resistance exchange in low-income communities.