Ecological aspects of the antimicrobial resistence in bacteria of importance to humn infections

Aspectos ecológicos da resistência antimicrobiana de bactérias de importância em infecção humana

In view of the intimate relationship of humans with coastal lagoons (used for recreation, tourism, water supply, etc.), the discharge of domestic effluents may lead to the establishment of routes of dissemination of pathogenic microorganisms, including microorganisms carrying genes for resistance to antimicrobials, through the surrounding human communities. The objective of the present investigation was to relate the presence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria to the environmental characteristics of three coastal lagoons, comparing the results with those from hospital sewage. Of the lagoons evaluated, two (Geribá and Imboassica) receive domestic sewage discharge, and the other (Cabiúnas) is still in a natural state. We isolated in a culture medium containing 32 ¼ µg/ml of Cephalothin, fecal coliforms (E. coli), non-fecal coliforms (Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Serratia, and Citrobacter), non-glucose-fermenting Gram-negative bacilli, and Aeromonas sp. In cultures from the hospital drain we found strains showing numerous markers for resistance to most of the 11 antimicrobials tested. On the other hand, in cultures from Cabiúnas and Imboassica lagoons, we found strains showing resistance only to antibiotics frequently observed in non-selective situations (considered as "common" markers). The capacity for dilution in the ecosystem, and salinity appeared related with the occurrence of multi-resistant bacterial strains. The intensity of recent fecal contamination was not shown to be associated with the numbers and types of markers found.

bacterial resistance; eutrophication; sanitary microbiology; environmental microbiology


Sociedade Brasileira de Microbiologia USP - ICB III - Dep. de Microbiologia, Sociedade Brasileira de Microbiologia, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 2415, Cidade Universitária, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP - Brasil, Ramal USP 7979, Tel. / Fax: (55 11) 3813-9647 ou 3037-7095 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: bjm@sbmicrobiologia.org.br