Antibiotic-resistant bacteria end up in soil, air, and water via sewage water and animal manure. Supplemental treatment technologies for waste water and manure could possibly reduce the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic residues in the environment. However, it's still unclear in how far the presence of resistant bacteria in the environment has consequences for public health. Recommendations can therefore not yet be made to interested parties as to whether and, if so, which supplemental (technical) measures might be required to protect human health. Further investigation is needed in this regard.
What is clear is that generally applicable measures aimed at limiting the use of antibiotics for humans and animals also benefit the environment as this reduces the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that end up in the environment via sewage water and animal manure. It's also important for interested parties such as water authorities to be properly informed regarding how many and which types of resistant bacteria are present in the environment. This information will help them to decide whether measures are required.
These conclusions were the result of two workshops organised by RIVM to discuss which measures are promising. Representatives of interested departments, knowledge institutions, consulting firms, sector-specific associations, and implementing organisations participated in the workshops.