The World Health Organisation (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and World organisation for Animal health (OIE), agree that surveillance of antibiotic/antimicrobial resistant bacteria (AMR) should be performed using a One Health multi-sectoral approach. Despite this, there is an overall lack of surveillance focusing on the environment and wildlife. Furthermore, there is unquestionably a lack of standardisation and synergy between projects and research efforts focusing on AMR in the environment and wildlife.
The JPIAMR Strategic research agenda published in 2013 also highlighted the lack of data, comparable information and cross-sectoral studies on AMR in the environment. To amend this, we have initiated the WAWES network – Wildlife, Agricultural soils, Water environments and antimicrobial resistance – what is known, needed and feasible for global Environmental Surveillance, which consists of 27 partners from 16 countries from all over the globe representing low to high income settings.
The WAWES participants have a shared objective of finding a way to perform global comparative surveillance of AMR in the environment and wildlife, which is furthermore applicable in the majority of countries irrespective of economic resources. Due to the complexity of the environment WAWES will in the initial phase focus on wildlife, agricultural soils and water environments, including wastewater.
- Stefan Börjesson, National Veterinary Institute, Sweden (Coordinator)
This network includes 27 partners, please click on the following link to see complete network composition: Network composition Wildlife, Agricultural soils, Water environments and antimicrobial resistance – what is known, needed and feasible for global Environmental Surveillance (WAWES)
Antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB) are one of the greatest challenges for both animal and human healthcare, this because the availability of antibiotics is the foundation for all modern medicine. To battle ARB surveillance plays an essential role to identify emergences of new or rare ARB, the continued transmission of more well-known ARB, and to assess if strategies and policies implemented to mitigate the spread has had an effect. In the endorsed action plans on antimicrobial resistance from The World Health Assembly (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and The World organization for Animal health (OIE) all agrees upon that surveillance should be performed in a one-health approach involving all sectors. Despite this, current national and international programs focus largely on the human and livestock sectors, in a limited number of countries companion animals is also included, but with the environment and wildlife generally overlooked. Furthermore, there is unquestionably a lack of standardization and synergy between projects and research efforts focusing on ABR in the environment and wildlife.
To amend this, we have initiated the WAWES network – “Wildlife, Agricultural soils, Water environments and antimicrobial resistance – what is known, needed and feasible for global Environmental Surveillance”, which consists of 27 partners from 16 countries from all over the globe representing low to high income settings. The WAWES participants have a shared objective of finding a way to perform global comparative surveillance of AMR in the environment and wildlife, which is furthermore applicable in most countries irrespective of economic resources. The work to focus on suggesting approaches to perform surveillance on ABR in the environment and wildlife is challenging mainly due to the complexity of the environment both on a macroscopic and microscopic scale, and the complexity of wildlife. In fact, one of the large hurdles, and the major ongoing discussion point of Wawes, is exactly defining what should be included in the definition of environment. Another major obstacle of suggesting approaches for surveillance on the environment and wildlife is that it preferably would be comparable to ongoing surveillance efforts in humans and livestock. However, the methods and chosen indicators for humans and livestock might not be suitable as indicators in the environment.
After initial discussions it was decided within Wawes to focus the efforts. First a white paper focusing on the suitability of using Escherichia coli, which is the major indicator bacteria for surveillance ARB efforts in human and livestock, as an indicator bacterium also in the environment. This work will define both the advantageous and primarily the weaknesses of using E. coli. In addition, the paper will also try to define the environment in the perspective of performing ABR surveillance. The second effort will be on an overview of ABR in wildlife with focus on other wildlife than birds since there already exist extensive studies and comprehensive reviews about ABR in wild birds. This work would also include on how wildlife should be defined in the perspective of performing ABR surveillance and highlight why wildlife is relevant when performing ABR surveillance.
- Book Chapter Antibiotics and Antimicrobial Resistance Genes (Springer International Publishing)’ eBook ISBN 978-3-030-40422-2, Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-40421-5, 2020. Chapter 1 –* ‘Entry routes of antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance in the environment’ P17, P19 Chapter 6 –‘Antimicrobial/antibiotic resistance genes due to manure and agricultural waste applications’ P19
- Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2019. Wildlife Is Overlooked in the Epidemiology of Medically Important Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria