A new study by an international team of scientists suggests that analyzing the DNA of urban sewage in different countries may tell the full story of global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) levels and provide a cheaper and easier method of conducting global AMR surveillance.

In a paper published in Nature Communications, the scientists report that metagenomic analysis of untreated sewage from 60 countries revealed a clear geographic distinction in AMR levels, with countries in Asia, Africa, and South America having more AMR genes, and a larger variety of them, than countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania. Their analysis also found that high AMR gene abundance was related to poor sanitation and health in many of those countries.

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Credit: CDC

Mar 8 Nat Commun study