The ‘thanato-resistome’ - The funeral industry as a potential reservoir of antibiotic resistance: Early insights and perspectives
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The funeral industry is a potential reservoir of antibiotic resistance. The occurrence, human exposure and health risks of antibiotic resistance in the funeral industry were examined. The funeral industry harbours antibiotic resistance to multiple common and last-resort antibiotics, hence constitutes the ‘thanato -resistome ’ . Hydrological processes, air -borne particulates and vectors disseminate antibiotic resistance, while horizontal gene transfer circulate antibiotic resistance among resistomes, forming a complex network. Ingestion, inhalation of air - borne particulates, dermal intake and clothes of workers contribute to human exposure. Human health risks include; development of drug resistance in previously susceptible pathogens, and increased morbidity and mortality caused by increased pathogenicity and outbreaks of multi -drug resistant infections. Ecological risks include the proliferation of resistant organisms at the expense of susceptible ones, thereby disrupting ecosystem structure and function, including biogeochemical cycles. Barring inferential data, quantitative evidence linking antibiotic resistance to human infections is weak. This reflect the lack of systematic quantitative studies, rather than the absence of such health risks. Quantitative risk assessment is constrained by lack of quantitative data on antibiotic resistance in various reservoirs and exposure routes. A framework for risk assessment and mitigation is proposed. Finally, ten hypotheses and emerging tools such as genomics, in silico techniques and big data analytics are highlighted.
Link to resourcehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141120
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