Don't Look Down on Sewers

For clues to map antibiotic resistance, sewers snagged the spotlight, a new study in ScienceAdvances demonstrates.
 
The researchers collected pre- and post-treatment wastewater in 7 European countries, checked for over 200 known resistance genes and showed the results correlate with clinical data—important implications for surveillance.
“If you want to see a mirror of the urban environment from a microbiological perspective, you have to look at wastewater sewage,” says Célia Manaia, a Universidade Católica Portuguesa microbiologist and study co-lead.
 
The research showed that water treatment plants basically work—though there is room to improve decades-old systems designed before much thought went into antibiotic resistance, Manaia says.

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