The sewage treatment plant (STP) is one of the most important interfaces between the human population and the aquatic environment, leading to contamination of the latter by antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. To identify factors affecting the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, water samples were collected from three different STPs in South India. STP1 exclusively treats sewage generated by a domestic population. STP2 predominantly treats sewage generated by a domestic population with a mix of hospital effluent. STP3 treats effluents generated exclusively by a hospital. The water samples were collected between three intermediate treatment steps including equalization, aeration, and clarification, in addition to the outlet to assess the removal rates of bacteria as the effluent passed through the treatment plant. The samples were collected in three different seasons to study the effect of seasonal variation. Escherichia coli isolated from the water samples were tested for susceptibility to 12 antimicrobials. The results of logistic regression analysis suggest that the hospital wastewater inflow significantly increased the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant E. coli, whereas the treatment processes and sampling seasons did not affect the prevalence of these isolates. A bias in the genotype distribution of E. coli was observed among the isolates obtained from STP3. In conclusion, hospital wastewaters should be carefully treated to prevent the contamination of Indian environment with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis