Increased waterborne blaNDM-1 resistance gene abundances associated with seasonal human pilgrimages to the Upper Ganges River

Z. S. Ahammad, T. R. Sreekrishnan, C. L. Hands, C. W. Knapp, D. W. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Antibiotic resistance (AR) is often rooted in inappropriate antibiotic use, but poor water quality and inadequate sanitation exacerbate the problem, especially in emerging countries. An example is increasing multi-AR due to mobile carbapenemases, such as NDM-1 protein (coded by blaNDM-1 genes), which can produce extreme drug-resistant phenotypes. In 2010, NDM-1 positive isolates and blaNDM-1 genes were detected in surface waters across Delhi and have since been detected across the urban world. However, little is known about blaNDM-1 levels in more pristine locations, such as the headwaters of the Upper Ganges River. This area is of particular interest because it receives massive numbers of visitors during seasonal pilgrimages in May/June, including visitors from urban India. Here we quantified blaNDM-1 abundances, other AR genes (ARG) and coliform bacteria in sediments and water column samples from seven sites in the Rishikesh-Haridwar region of the Upper Ganges and five sites on the Yamuna River in Delhi to contrast blaNDM-1 levels and water quality conditions between season and region. Water quality in the Yamuna was very poor (e.g., anoxia at all sites), and blaNDM-1 abundances were high across sites in water (5.4 ± 0.4 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1); 95% confidence interval) and sediment (6.3 ± 0.7 log(blaNDM-1·mg-1)) samples from both seasons. In contrast, water column blaNDM-1 abundances were very low across all sites (2.1 ± 0.6 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1)) in February in the Upper Ganges and water quality was good (e.g., near saturation oxygen). However, per capita blaNDM-1 levels were 20 times greater in June in the Ganges water column relative to February and blaNDM-1 levels significantly correlated with fecal coliform levels (r=0.61; p=0.007). Given waste management infrastructure is limited in Rishikesh-Haridwar; data imply blaNDM-1 levels are higher in visitor's wastes than local residents, which results in seasonally higher blaNDM-1 levels in the river. Pilgrimage areas without adequate waste treatment are possible "hot spots" for AR transmission, and waste treatment must be improved to reduce broader AR dissemination via exposed returning visitors.
LanguageEnglish
Pages3014–3020
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume48
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2014

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antibiotic resistance
Antibiotics
Genes
Rivers
Anti-Bacterial Agents
Water quality
gene
water quality
river
water column
waste treatment
Waste treatment
Water
Sediments
Coliform bacteria
coliform bacterium
anoxia
fecal coliform
Sanitation
sanitation

Keywords

  • antibiotic resistance
  • water quality
  • blaNDM-1 genes

Cite this

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title = "Increased waterborne blaNDM-1 resistance gene abundances associated with seasonal human pilgrimages to the Upper Ganges River",
abstract = "Antibiotic resistance (AR) is often rooted in inappropriate antibiotic use, but poor water quality and inadequate sanitation exacerbate the problem, especially in emerging countries. An example is increasing multi-AR due to mobile carbapenemases, such as NDM-1 protein (coded by blaNDM-1 genes), which can produce extreme drug-resistant phenotypes. In 2010, NDM-1 positive isolates and blaNDM-1 genes were detected in surface waters across Delhi and have since been detected across the urban world. However, little is known about blaNDM-1 levels in more pristine locations, such as the headwaters of the Upper Ganges River. This area is of particular interest because it receives massive numbers of visitors during seasonal pilgrimages in May/June, including visitors from urban India. Here we quantified blaNDM-1 abundances, other AR genes (ARG) and coliform bacteria in sediments and water column samples from seven sites in the Rishikesh-Haridwar region of the Upper Ganges and five sites on the Yamuna River in Delhi to contrast blaNDM-1 levels and water quality conditions between season and region. Water quality in the Yamuna was very poor (e.g., anoxia at all sites), and blaNDM-1 abundances were high across sites in water (5.4 ± 0.4 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1); 95{\%} confidence interval) and sediment (6.3 ± 0.7 log(blaNDM-1·mg-1)) samples from both seasons. In contrast, water column blaNDM-1 abundances were very low across all sites (2.1 ± 0.6 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1)) in February in the Upper Ganges and water quality was good (e.g., near saturation oxygen). However, per capita blaNDM-1 levels were 20 times greater in June in the Ganges water column relative to February and blaNDM-1 levels significantly correlated with fecal coliform levels (r=0.61; p=0.007). Given waste management infrastructure is limited in Rishikesh-Haridwar; data imply blaNDM-1 levels are higher in visitor's wastes than local residents, which results in seasonally higher blaNDM-1 levels in the river. Pilgrimage areas without adequate waste treatment are possible {"}hot spots{"} for AR transmission, and waste treatment must be improved to reduce broader AR dissemination via exposed returning visitors.",
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Increased waterborne blaNDM-1 resistance gene abundances associated with seasonal human pilgrimages to the Upper Ganges River. / Ahammad, Z. S.; Sreekrishnan, T. R.; Hands, C. L.; Knapp, C. W.; Graham, D. W.

In: Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 48, No. 5, 12.02.2014, p. 3014–3020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Increased waterborne blaNDM-1 resistance gene abundances associated with seasonal human pilgrimages to the Upper Ganges River

AU - Ahammad, Z. S.

AU - Sreekrishnan, T. R.

AU - Hands, C. L.

AU - Knapp, C. W.

AU - Graham, D. W.

PY - 2014/2/12

Y1 - 2014/2/12

N2 - Antibiotic resistance (AR) is often rooted in inappropriate antibiotic use, but poor water quality and inadequate sanitation exacerbate the problem, especially in emerging countries. An example is increasing multi-AR due to mobile carbapenemases, such as NDM-1 protein (coded by blaNDM-1 genes), which can produce extreme drug-resistant phenotypes. In 2010, NDM-1 positive isolates and blaNDM-1 genes were detected in surface waters across Delhi and have since been detected across the urban world. However, little is known about blaNDM-1 levels in more pristine locations, such as the headwaters of the Upper Ganges River. This area is of particular interest because it receives massive numbers of visitors during seasonal pilgrimages in May/June, including visitors from urban India. Here we quantified blaNDM-1 abundances, other AR genes (ARG) and coliform bacteria in sediments and water column samples from seven sites in the Rishikesh-Haridwar region of the Upper Ganges and five sites on the Yamuna River in Delhi to contrast blaNDM-1 levels and water quality conditions between season and region. Water quality in the Yamuna was very poor (e.g., anoxia at all sites), and blaNDM-1 abundances were high across sites in water (5.4 ± 0.4 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1); 95% confidence interval) and sediment (6.3 ± 0.7 log(blaNDM-1·mg-1)) samples from both seasons. In contrast, water column blaNDM-1 abundances were very low across all sites (2.1 ± 0.6 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1)) in February in the Upper Ganges and water quality was good (e.g., near saturation oxygen). However, per capita blaNDM-1 levels were 20 times greater in June in the Ganges water column relative to February and blaNDM-1 levels significantly correlated with fecal coliform levels (r=0.61; p=0.007). Given waste management infrastructure is limited in Rishikesh-Haridwar; data imply blaNDM-1 levels are higher in visitor's wastes than local residents, which results in seasonally higher blaNDM-1 levels in the river. Pilgrimage areas without adequate waste treatment are possible "hot spots" for AR transmission, and waste treatment must be improved to reduce broader AR dissemination via exposed returning visitors.

AB - Antibiotic resistance (AR) is often rooted in inappropriate antibiotic use, but poor water quality and inadequate sanitation exacerbate the problem, especially in emerging countries. An example is increasing multi-AR due to mobile carbapenemases, such as NDM-1 protein (coded by blaNDM-1 genes), which can produce extreme drug-resistant phenotypes. In 2010, NDM-1 positive isolates and blaNDM-1 genes were detected in surface waters across Delhi and have since been detected across the urban world. However, little is known about blaNDM-1 levels in more pristine locations, such as the headwaters of the Upper Ganges River. This area is of particular interest because it receives massive numbers of visitors during seasonal pilgrimages in May/June, including visitors from urban India. Here we quantified blaNDM-1 abundances, other AR genes (ARG) and coliform bacteria in sediments and water column samples from seven sites in the Rishikesh-Haridwar region of the Upper Ganges and five sites on the Yamuna River in Delhi to contrast blaNDM-1 levels and water quality conditions between season and region. Water quality in the Yamuna was very poor (e.g., anoxia at all sites), and blaNDM-1 abundances were high across sites in water (5.4 ± 0.4 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1); 95% confidence interval) and sediment (6.3 ± 0.7 log(blaNDM-1·mg-1)) samples from both seasons. In contrast, water column blaNDM-1 abundances were very low across all sites (2.1 ± 0.6 log(blaNDM-1·mL-1)) in February in the Upper Ganges and water quality was good (e.g., near saturation oxygen). However, per capita blaNDM-1 levels were 20 times greater in June in the Ganges water column relative to February and blaNDM-1 levels significantly correlated with fecal coliform levels (r=0.61; p=0.007). Given waste management infrastructure is limited in Rishikesh-Haridwar; data imply blaNDM-1 levels are higher in visitor's wastes than local residents, which results in seasonally higher blaNDM-1 levels in the river. Pilgrimage areas without adequate waste treatment are possible "hot spots" for AR transmission, and waste treatment must be improved to reduce broader AR dissemination via exposed returning visitors.

KW - antibiotic resistance

KW - water quality

KW - blaNDM-1 genes

U2 - 10.1021/es405348h

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JO - Environmental Science and Technology

T2 - Environmental Science and Technology

JF - Environmental Science and Technology

SN - 0013-936X

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