Carbapenemase-producing bacteria in food-producing animals, wildlife and environment: A challenge for human health

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Silvia Bonardi *
Rosario Pitino
(*) Corresponding Author:
Silvia Bonardi |


Antimicrobial resistance is an increasing global health problem and one of the major concerns for economic impacts worldwide. Recently, resistance against carbapenems (doripenem, ertapenem, imipenem, meropenem), which are critically important antimicrobials for human cares, poses a great risk all over the world. Carbapenemases are β-lactamases belonging to different Ambler classes (A, B, D) and encoded by both chromosomal and plasmidic genes. They hydrolyze a broad variety of β-lactams, including carbapenems, cephalosporins, penicillins and aztreonam. Despite several studies in human patients and hospital settings have been performed in European countries, the role of livestock animals, wild animals and the terrestrial and aquatic environment in the maintenance and transmission of carbapenemase- producing bacteria has been poorly investigated. The present review focuses on the carbapenemase-producing bacteria detected in pigs, cattle, poultry, fish, mollusks, wild birds and wild mammals in Europe as well as in non-European countries, investigating the genetic mechanisms for their transmission among food-producing animals and wildlife. To shed light on the important role of the environment in the maintenance and genetic exchange of resistance determinants between environmental and pathogenic bacteria, studies on aquatic sources (rivers, lakes, as well as wastewater treatment plants) are described.

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