Background: The nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in swine feed can select for antibiotic resistance in swine enteric bacteria. Leaking swine waste storage pits and the land-application of swine manure can result in the dispersion of resistant bacteria to water sources. However, there are few data comparing levels of resistant bacteria in swine manure-impacted water sources versus unaffected sources. Objectives: The goal of this study was to analyze surface water and groundwater situated up and down gradient from a swine facility for antibiotic-resistant enterococci and other fecal indicators. Methods: Surface water and groundwater samples (n = 28) were collected up and down gradient from a swine facility from 2002 to 2004. Fecal indicators were isolated by membrane filtration, and enterococci (n = 200) were tested for susceptibility to erythromycin, tetracycline, clindamycin, virginiamycin, and vancomycin. Results: Median concentrations of enterococci, fecal coliforms, and Escherichia coli were 4- to 33-fold higher in down-gradient versus up-gradient surface water and groundwater. We observed higher minimal inhibitory concentrations for four antibiotics in enterococci isolated from down-gradient versus up-gradient surface water and groundwater. Elevated percentages of erythromycin (p = 0.02) and tetracycline-resistant (p = 0.06) enterococci were detected in down-gradient surface waters, and higher percentages of tetracycline- (p = 0.07) and clindamycin-resistant (p < 0.001) enterococci were detected in down-gradient groundwater. Conclusions: We detected elevated levels of fecal indicators and antibiotic-resistant enterococci in water sources situated down gradient from a swine facility compared with up-gradient sources. These findings provide additional evidence that water contaminated with swine manure could contribute to the spread of antibiotic resistance.
- Antibiotic resistance
- Concentrated swine feeding operation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis