Climate change and AMR

by Rebecca Glover
Ice lollies

This weekend, as I idly prepared for the London heatwave by buying ice lollies and taking my fan out of a cupboard, I started to wonder about the relationship between climate change and AMR. And a bit of light reading later, I was enthralled.

Of course, those of you in the AMR community will already know that climate change affects the distribution and incidence of vector-and water-borne diseases.  But did you know that there are studies linking higher temperatures with higher bacterial resistance rates? Emerging ecological evidence suggests that increases in local temperatures are associated with higher levels of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus, according to a 2018 study in Nature Climate Change.

I wanted to know more about the intersection between climate change and AMR. The field seemed fairly new, and so I was delighted to find a helpful iScience article from April 2020, which reviewed the recent temporal, wastewater, and ecological studies on this topic. The article concludes that antibacterial and antifungal resistance rates seem to increase and persist with higher temperatures. They propose several mechanisms for this association.

Research into the impact of climate change on AMR is of profound importance. It is not inconceivable that projections of future AMR burden may be vastly underestimated. I would invite you to learn a bit more about why climate change may be relevant to your AMR research by reading one of the articles above, maybe with an ice lolly!

Have a good week and a safe heatwave,

The AMR Centre management team

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