MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. John Penders
John Penders PhD
Dept. of Medical Microbiology
Maastricht University, Maastricht
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) constitutes an increasingly important human health hazard worldwide. Especially, the rapid emergence and global spread of multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae is worrisome. These bacteria often produce enzymes like extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) and carbapenemases, which inactivate most beta-lactam antibiotics, and are often co-resistant to multiple other antibiotic classes. Consequently, treatment options for infections with multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae are limited.
The prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is generally higher in low and middle income countries as a result of inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents, overcrowding and lack of hygiene and infection control measures. The exponential increase of international travel to such endemic areas may substantially contribute to the emergence and spread of AMR as it allows resistant bacteria to be rapidly transported between regions.
Indeed several previous studies had already indicated that international travel is a major risk factor for colonisation with ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae. However, many questions remained unanswered, such as the travel destinations and potential risk-behaviour that provide the highest risk for colonisation, how long travellers remain colonised after they return and whether they can transmit these resistant bacteria to other people within their household once they returned from their travel.
That is why we initiated the largest prospective study on the acquisition and spread of multidrug resistant bacteria in returning travellers. This multicenter study, conducted by Maastricht University Medical Center, Erasmus University Medical Center, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Havenziekenhuis and Utrecht University, included 2,001 travellers and 215 household members. Fecal samples of these participants were collected before and immediately after travel as well as 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after travel return and screened for the prescence of multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Moreover, extensive information on demographics, travel details, illnesses and behaviour were collected at all follow-up moments by repeated questionnaires.