What is the evidence that point sources of anthropogenic effluent increase antibiotic resistance in the environment? Protocol for a systematic review

Williams-Nguyen J, Bueno I, Sargeant JM, Nault AJ, Singer RS

Herein we describe a protocol for a systematic review of the evidence on whether point sources of anthropogenic effluent are associated with an increase in antibiotic resistance in the adjacent environment. The review question was based on the Population, Exposure, Comparator, Outcome, Study Design (PECOS) framework as follows: Is the prevalence or concentration of antibiotic resistant bacteria or resistance genes (O) in soil, water, air or free-living wildlife (P) higher in close proximity to, or downstream from, known or suspected sources of anthropogenic effluent (E) compared to areas more distant from or upstream from these sources (C)? A comprehensive search strategy was created to capture all relevant, published literature. Criteria for two stages of eligibility screening were developed to exclude publications that were not relevant to the question, and determine if the study used a design that permitted estimation of an association between a source and levels of resistance. A decision matrix was created for assessment of risk of bias to internal validity due to sample selection bias, information bias, and confounding. The goal of this protocol is to provide a method for determining the state of knowledge about the effect of point sources on antibiotic resistance in the environment.

Animal Health Research Reviews 17(1):9-15