Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 30690357
Sci. Total Environ. 2019 Jan;662:227-235
In 2016, the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety started a pilot project to investigate antimicrobial resistance in surface water. Here we report on the characterisation of carbapenem resistant and ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates from Austrian river water samples compared to 95 clinical isolates recently obtained in Austrian hospitals. Ten water samples were taken from four main rivers, collected upstream and downstream of major cities in 2016. For subtyping and comparison, public core genome multi locus sequence typing (cgMLST) schemes were used. The presence of AMR genes, virulence genes and plasmids was extracted from whole genome sequence (WGS) data. In total three ESBL-producing strains and two carbapenem resistant strains were isolated. WGS based comparison of these five water isolates to 95 clinical isolates identified three clusters. Cluster 1 (ST11) and cluster 2 (ST985) consisted of doublets of carbapenem resistant strains (one water and one clinical isolate each). Cluster 3 (ST405) consisted of three ESBL-producing strains isolated from one water sample and two clinical specimens. The cities, in which patient isolates of cluster 2 and 3 were collected, were in concordance with the water sampling locations downstream from these cities. The genetic concordance between isolates from river water samples and patient isolates raises concerns regarding the release of wastewater treatment plant effluents into surface water. From a public health perspective these findings demand attention and strategies are required to minimize the spread of multiresistant strains to the environment.