Mother breastfeeding newborn baby with skin-to-skin contact

Wastewater – a source of antibiotic resistance transmission between humans, animals, and the environment.

A systematic review of the contribution of wastewater in antibiotic resistance transmission reveals that biological and chemical pollutants in wastewater not removed by wastewater treatment, include antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARBs), and antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs). This carries implications given that genetic interactions between bacteria can transfer ARGs in bacterial populations. Water used for drinking and irrigation also exposes humans and animals to wastewater and thus ARBs. Enhancing current wastewater treatment technologies to filter out antibiotics and ARBs could help reduce the transmission of AMR through wastewater. [Journal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance]

Skin-to-skin contact between mothers and babies reduces neonatal sepsis infections and deaths.

A new analysis found that immediate kangaroo mother care (KMC) – a practice that combines skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their newborns with exclusive breastfeeding or provision of breastmilk – reduces suspected sepsis and sepsis-related deaths in small and preterm babies by 18 and 25 percent, respectively. The bacterial isolates among babies who received KMC may contain fewer Gram-negative bacteria than those among babies receiving conventional incubator care. The World Health Organization recently released new recommendations based on these findings to initiate KMC for all preterm or low birthweight babies as soon as possible after birth to prevent severe infection, sepsis, and mortality in vulnerable newborns. [WHO]

Governance and surveillance strategies from the pandemic can be applied to the fight against AMR.

The pandemic helped demonstrate to policymakers the role of scientific evidence in systemic public health responses, which can now be leveraged to convey the need for investment in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research. Governance and accountability of senior leadership were also critical to pandemic response efforts, and experts propose forming multi-stakeholder committees at the national level that will report to the highest governmental office and lead AMR mitigation and containment programs. Other strategies used in response to COVID-19, including technology-based surveillance, risk communication, routine vaccination, and mass diagnostics can help bolster current AMR stewardship. [The Lancet Infectious Diseases]

Virulence factors are highly correlated with antimicrobial resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa’s inherent and acquired drug resistance, coupled with high levels of virulence factors that enable bacterial growth are traits that contribute to infections with high morbidity and mortality. A recent study reveals several correlations between virulence factors and drug resistance in P. aeruginosa clinical isolates and highlights the potential of a mycolitic agent in the inhibition of biofilm formation, a critical factor for virulence and drug resistance. [BMC Microbiology]

Bacteriophages can reduce foodborne pathogen bacterial populations.

Bacteriophages, or viruses that infect bacteria, were isolated from soil samples near an organic waste disposal site and assessed as a possible biocontrol agent against food spoilage bacteria and foodborne pathogenic bacteria. The four isolated phages showed high specificity for bacterial hosts, likely because phages can only infect bacteria with the same receptor type as the phage. Efficacy against host bacteria varied widely among the four isolates, but they all significantly reduced bacterial count in food samples such as chicken meat and pasteurized milk, at all temperatures. Further analysis of the bacteriophages’ genomic makeup and optimal conditions are needed to evaluate their utility as a food preservative. [Nature Scientific Reports]

Ambient air pollution exposure has mixed associations with upper respiratory tract infections and pneumonia in Thailand.

Although exposure to air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM2.5) have been associated with upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) and pneumonia, mixed results in a new study may be attributable to the fact that SO2 and CO in low doses may have anti-inflammatory effects in mammals and decrease the risk of pneumonia and URTI. PM2.5 was found to have the strongest positive association with URTI and pneumonia. The varying effects of different concentrations of pollutants during the study period could be correlated with the EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards, indicating that SO2 and PM2.5 levels below EPA standards would have a lesser influence on the incidence of URTI and pneumonia. [BMC Infectious Diseases]

Gendered daily tasks in a South African livestock community cause variations in zoonotic exposure.

Using a One Health, gender-based approach, researchers assessed the zoonotic interactions between people, domestic animals, and the environment in the livestock-dependent community of Mpumalanga, South Africa. They found that household and animal care tasks and environmental exposure varied greatly by gender. For example, women were largely responsible for water collection and household hygiene, while their male counterparts raised cattle, removed household waste, and tended crops. Furthermore, men were more likely to wear protective clothes covering their legs and feet, likely preventing exposure to parasites and other disease vectors in the environment. These findings highlight the importance of social factors in infectious disease risk and the need for interventions that account for zoonotic exposure differences by gender. [PLOS Global Public Health]

The global public health benefits of safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services.

Unsafe WASH practices increase the prevalence of diarrhea, malnutrition, respiratory infection, and soil-transmitted parasitic diseases, as well as other adverse health and societal outcomes globally. A new study found that an estimated 1.4 million deaths due to diarrheal disease and respiratory infections in 2019 could have been prevented by the universal provision of safe WASH. Substantial regional variations in WASH-attributable deaths were observed, with Southeast Asia, Africa, and low-and-middle-income countries experiencing the greatest disease burden associated with unsafe WASH. [The Lancet]

Rainfall and poor water storage practices increase the incidence of dengue in Grenada.

Dengue, a vector-borne zoonotic disease, is transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Due to warm temperatures and wet conditions, tropical and subtropical regions suffer a high disease burden with approximately 10,000 deaths attributed to dengue annually. A descriptive and statistical analysis of dengue cases and rainfall in Grenada between 2010 and 2020 revealed a higher prevalence of dengue in the rainy season than in the dry season. Sporadic bouts of heavy rain and poor water storage practices during drought or the dry season also contributed to the prevalence of dengue year-round and indicate the need for continuous surveillance and mosquito-control interventions to reduce the rate of transmission. [PLOS Climate]


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