Plugging the leaks: antibiotic resistance at human–animal interfaces in low-resource settings

Maya L. Nadimpalli, Marc Stegger, Roberto Viau, Vuthy Yith, Agathe de Lauzanne, Nita Sem, Laurence Borand, Bich tram Huynh, Sylvain Brisse, Virginie Passet, Søren Overballe-Petersen, Maliha Aziz, Malika Gouali, Jan Jacobs, Thong Phe, Bruce A. Hungate, Victor O. Leshyk, Amy J. Pickering, François Gravey, Cindy M. LiuTimothy J. Johnson, Simon Le Hello, Lance B. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest public health challenges of our time. International efforts to curb resistance have largely focused on drug development and limiting unnecessary antibiotic use. However, in areas where water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure is lacking, we propose that bacterial flow between humans and animals can exacerbate the emergence and spread of resistant pathogens. Here, we describe the consequences of poor environmental controls by comparing mobile resistance elements among Escherichia coli recovered from humans and meat in Cambodia, a middle-income country with substantial human–animal connectivity and unregulated antibiotic use. We identified identical mobile resistance elements and a conserved transposon region that were widely dispersed in both humans and animals, a phenomenon rarely observed in high-income settings. Our findings indicate that plugging leaks at human–animal interfaces should be a critical part of addressing antibiotic resistance in low- and especially middle-income countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-434
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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