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ABSTRACT: The presence and persistence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment is thought to be a growing threat to public health. The route of the spread of multiresistant bacteria from human communities to aquatic environment may lead through wastewater treatment plants that release treated wastewater to a water reservoir. In this study we used multiplex PCR assay to determine the frequency of integron presence in Escherichia coli isolates cultured from wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) (integrons were detected in 11% of E. coli isolates), river water upstream (6%) and downstream (14%) the discharge of WWTP, and clinical specimens (56%). Antimicrobial resistance of the integron-positive isolates, determined by disk diffusion method, varied between E. coli of different origin. Isolates from the downstream river, compared to those cultured from upstream river, were more frequently resistant to kanamycin, cephalotin, co-trimoxazole, trimethoprim, and fluoroquinolones. Moreover, they displayed broader resistance ranges, expressed as the number of classes of antimicrobials to which they were resistant. The results may suggest that WWTP effluent contributes to increased frequency of integron-positive E. coli isolates in the river downstream the WWTP and to their elevated resistance level.
Science of The Total Environment 11/2011; 414:680-5. · 3.26 Impact Factor