A large new study by researchers in Israel indicates that increased use of antibiotics in certain neighborhoods is associated with increased risk of acquiring antibiotic-resistant bacteria, even in individuals without prior antibiotic use.

The study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, specifically looked at fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli found in the urine cultures of Israelis in more than 1,700 neighborhoods across the country, and any association with personal and community use of fluoroquinolones.

The results showed that while higher personal use of fluoroquinolones was associated with increased risk of finding fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli, so was higher neighborhood use. And that risk remained even when the analysis looked at people who had not previously consumed fluoroquinolones.

The authors of the study say the findings suggest that personal consumption of antibiotics isn’t the only mechanism driving resistance at a population level.

“Our study may supply some evidence regarding a selective mechanism [for antibiotic resistance] at the community level,” lead study author Marcelo Low, MPH, told CIDRAP News in an email.

Large-scale analysis

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See also:

Mar 4 Lancet Infect Dis abstract