Health Care Waste in Landfills May Promote Antibiotic Resistance

Dr. Thiago César Nascimento Assistant Professor, Department of Basic Nursing Laboratory of Bacterial Physiology and Molecular Genetics Institute of Biological Sciences Federal University of Juiz de Fora, BrazilMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Thiago César Nascimento
Assistant Professor, Department of Basic Nursing
Laboratory of Bacterial Physiology and Molecular Genetics
Institute of Biological Sciences
Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Preliminarily, we observed a high incidence of coagulase-negative  Staphylococcus  strains (CoNS) recovered from the leachate of the health care waste in an untreated sanitary landfill. As Staphylococcus sp. especially oxacillin or methicillin-resistant CoNS remains as important putative pathogenic bacteria regarding human and other animals, in this study we investigated the antimicrobial susceptibility patterns and the occurrence of the  mecA  gene. In conclusion, our results raise issues related to the viability of putative pathogenic bacteria resistant to important antimicrobial drugs carrying important resistance markers in untreated healthcare waste in sanitary landfills.These risks regarding the potential spread of leachate from sanitary landfills due to human and animal activities, or even due to weather phenomena, such as torrential rains and floods, should be considered. Our results address a phenomenon related to the incorrect healthcare waste management in Brazil and in other geographical regions. Taking into account environmental health, more conscientious  policies should be considered by authorities to avoid the disposal of healthcare waste without any further treatment.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: A fact to be considered for both health professionals and patients is incorrect segregation at the time of generation what most often leads to a greater production of infectious biological waste. Particularly in relation to clinicians, the irrational use of antibiotics mainly associated with their improper disposal would also be an issue to consider. One of the greatest healthcare waste problems to be  addressed is the presence of putative pathogens. The selective pressure of antibiotics and other medicines, as well as chemical compounds commonly discharged as healthcare residues, can lead to the proliferation of these pathogens. These organisms, mainly bacteria, may show antimicrobial resistance and are potential contaminants for hospital surfaces and materials.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Whereas the incorrect waste management can be a similar reality in other geographical regions, I believe that further studies should be conducted in order to point out the impact in these regions. As noted in our study,the viability of putative pathogenic bacteria resistant to important antimicrobial drugs carrying  important resistance markers in untreated heatlhcare waste in sanitary landfills, should also be investigated in future studies.

Citation:

Potential spread of multidrug-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci through healthcare waste.

Thiago César Nascimento, Vânia Lúcia da Silva, Alessandra Barbosa Ferreira-Machado, Cláudio Galuppo Diniz
The Journal of Infection in Developing Countries 2014

Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil