Careless discharge of drugs and some chemicals into the environment is linked to growing antimicrobial resistance, and it is a worrying trend, finds a new research report.
“The warning here is truly frightening: we could be spurring the development of ferocious superbugs through ignorance and carelessness,” said Erik Solheim, chief of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which published the Frontiers report.
The report says that most antibiotic drugs are excreted un-metabolized along with resistant bacteria through urine and faeces into the environment.
“The release into the environment of sub-lethal levels of various antimicrobial compounds in effluents from households and hospitals and in agricultural run-off, combined with the direct contact between natural bacterial communities and discharged resistant bacteria, is driving bacterial evolution and the emergence of more resistant strains,” the report says.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when a microorganism evolves to resist the effects of an antimicrobial agent.
Over 700,000 people die as a result of drugs being ineffective to the anti-microbial resistance that affected them.