Antimicrobial Resistance Research


4 Aug 2016

New Grant Awarded: Spatial and temporal dynamics of AMR transmission from the outdoor environment to humans in urban and rural Bangladesh.

The following grant has been awarded by the AMR network:

Spatial and temporal dynamics of AMR transmission from the outdoor environment to humans in urban and rural Bangladesh.

Loughborough researchers have been awarded funding to looking at the risk of transmission of antimicrobial resistant bacteria from the environment to humans in Bangladesh. Dr Emily Rousham, principal investigator of this interdisciplinary project, will be working with Professor Paul Wood, Department of Geography, and Mr Michael Smith in the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) at Loughborough University.

This is one of several projects funded by NERC/BBSRC/MRC through the ‘Antimicrobial Resistance in the Real World’ Call. [ announcement/]

Antibiotic resistance is a current health threat to humans because it may render many antibiotic treatments ineffective against common bacterial infections. As well as being a health priority in the UK, there is also concern about the appearance of new forms of antibiotic resistance in low and middle income countries, and the potential for the spread of harmful resistant bacteria globally.

In the first study of its kind, this project will measure the presence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in outdoor environments in Bangladesh (drinking water, wastewater, soil, surface water) and link this to the presence of resistant bacteria in poultry and in humans. As well as conducting microbiological analyses of resistant bacteria in humans and the environment, the study will look for the presence of particular genes which confer antibiotic resistance. These genes can be transferred between different species of bacteria, allowing a more rapid spread of antibiotic resistance, and this also provides a potential route of transmission of resistance between different hosts such as poultry and humans.

Humans can be exposed to bacteria carrying antimicrobial resistance through their contact with contaminated water or soil, and through exposure via domestic poultry and commercial poultry farming. The use of antibiotics in poultry farming, either in feed or as medication, potentially accelerates the development of antimicrobial resistant E. coli bacteria that live in the gut of poultry and these can be transmitted to humans. The findings of this research will help scientists to identify ways to reduce the risk of transmission of antimicrobial resistance through interventions such as improving the quality of drinking water, reducing the unnecessary use of antibiotics (in livestock and in humans), as well as ensuring the appropriate disposal of contaminated waste. The research is being undertaken in collaboration with a leading research centre in Bangladesh, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR,B).

The study has received funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC), and the Medical Research Council (AMR) through the Antimicrobial Resistance Cross Council Initiative (

For more information about the study, please contact Dr Emily Rousham, Centre for Global Health and Human Development, School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University.