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International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) remains one of the leading global health threats. This study compared antimicrobial resistance patterns among E. coli isolates from clinical uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) to hospital wastewater populations and throughout an urban wastewater treatment facility – influent, pre- and post-chlorinated effluents. Antibiotic susceptibility of 201 isolates were analyzed against eleven different antibiotics, and the presence of twelve antibiotic resistant genes and type 1 integrase were identified. AMR exhibited the following pattern: UPEC (46.8%) > hospital wastewater (37.8%) > urban post-chlorinated effluent (27.6%) > pre-chlorinated effluent (21.4%) > urban influent wastewater (13.3%). However, multi-drug resistance against three or more antimicrobial classes was more prevalent among hospital wastewater populations (29.7%) compared to other sources. E. coli from wastewaters disinfected with chlorine were significantly correlated with increased trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistance in E. coli compared to raw and treated wastewater populations. blaCTX-M-1 group was the most common extended spectrum beta-lactamase in E. coli from hospital wastewater (90%), although UPEC strains also encoded blaCTX-M-1 group (50%) and blaTEM (100%) genes. Among tetracycline-resistant populations, tetA and tetB were the only resistance genes identified throughout wastewater populations that were associated with increased phenotypic resistance. Further characterization of the E. coli populations identified phylogroup B2 predominating among clinical UPEC populations and correlated with the highest AMR, whereas the elevated rate of multi-drug resistance among hospital wastewater was mostly phylogroup A. Together, our findings highlight hospital wastewater as a rich source of AMR and multi-drug resistant bacterial populations.


Accepted version. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Vol. 238 (September 2021): 113863. DOI. © 2021 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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