18 Apr 2018

DHI helps to limit the spread of antimicrobial resistance

With a warning tool based on the presence of resistant bacteria in the wastewater of hospitals, you can track the source more quickly and thereby limit the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

DHI, in cooperation with Herlev Hospital and North Zealand Hospital, Hillerød, is developing a warning tool that enables faster intervention and thus helps prevent further spread of the resistant bacteria. The method is based on measurements and analyses of the wastewater of the hospitals. As Ulf Nielsen, Chief Planner, DHI, says

‘The quality of wastewater can reveal the health of the hospital. We can actually compare the hospitals and by benchmarking get an indication of whether to intervene more or less massively.’

Picture to the left: Escherichia coli bacteria. © Shutterstock.com/borzywoj
Picture to the right: Chief Planner, Ulf Nielsen, DHI. © www.soendergaard.com

By comparing DNA analyses from the wastewater samples with patient samples, it is possible to identify the species of bacteria, and to go backwards and trace the source of infection, thus giving the opportunity to intervene with, for example, isolation.

However, the problem is global and costs a lot of life worldwide. Therefore, an efficient and rapid alert tool with a knowledge database could be exported worldwide and help reduce the problem of hospital transferred resistant bacteria - and save many lives.

The project is supported by the Environmental Technology Development and Demonstration Program (MUDP) under the Environment and Food Ministry. The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Clinical Microbiological Department at Herlev Hospital and North Zealand Hospital, Hillerød.