Study of internet searches finds public AMR awareness lagging
An analysis of Google Trends suggests World Antimicrobial Awareness Week has not improved public awareness of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
In a study published yesterday in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers analyzed trends in the search volume of the terms “antimicrobial resistance,” “antibiotics,” and “antibacterials” in Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and worldwide from 2015—when World Antimicrobial Awareness Week was introduced—through 2020. Using relative search volume (RSV) on Google Trends as a surrogate, they performed a joinpoint regression analysis to identify a statistically significant time point of a change in trend.
The results showed that World Antibiotic Awareness Week did not have a significant impact on general public interest in AMR or antibiotics in Japan, the United States, or the United Kingdom, although some increase in RSV was noted worldwide in 2017 and 2020. In addition, the RSV for antibiotics in every country or region significantly declined in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This study implies that we need to develop a more effective method to improve public awareness to fight against AMR,” the study authors concluded.
Aug 11 Int J Infect Dis study
Dutch paper: Antibiotics in hospital wastewater a growing problem
A new white paper by Dutch experts is calling for solutions to the problem of antimicrobial residues and resistant bacteria in hospital wastewater.
Citing data from recent research in the Netherlands, the paper from the Dutch Consortium on Antibiotics and Pharmaceutical Residues from Water estimates that 40% of antibiotic residues in the country’s wastewater originates from Dutch hospitals, exposing bacteria in the water to concentrations of antibiotics—many of them “last-resort” antibiotics—that are high enough to promote resistance but not high enough to kill the bacteria. The resistant bacteria can then pass on their resistance to other bacteria through the transfer of plasmids that harbor resistance genes.
To address this problem, the consortium calls for a three-pronged approach that removes the antibiotic residues from the water, disinfects the treated water, and removes plasmids containing the resistance genes—both at the source (hospitals) and through “end-of-pipe” solutions at sewage treatment facilities. While many sewage treatment facilities are able to remove antibiotics residues from treated water, additional purification techniques will be needed to remove plasmids, the authors of the paper note.
“In other words: we will not prevent AMR if only the antibiotic residues are removed from wastewater,” they write. “We will have to do more.”
The authors say the problem demands a targeted joint approach and calls for cooperation between hospitals, water companies, the pharmaceutical sector, and the government.
Aug 10 Dutch white paper