Multi-resistant germs in Frankfurt's waters

Antibiotic-resistant germs: Results on surface water in Frankfurt
In March 2017, a man fell into the Eschbach, became infected with a deadly germ and died only a short time later at the Frankfurt University Hospital. This tragic case was much discussed in Frankfurt. It was also the reason for a comprehensive investigation of Frankfurt waters for dangerous bacteria. A total of 19 samples were taken by experts from the University of Bonn. Multi-resistant bacteria were found again.

"The results of the sampling of all surface waters in Frankfurt are now available," said the Health Department of the City of Frankfurt am Main, City Councilor Stefan Majer. “It took several weeks to examine the samples using complex, newly developed scientific methods at the University of Bonn. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens were also detectable in the current investigation in various waters - in those with and without the influence of a sewage treatment plant. Other influencing factors are therefore likely, such as input from agriculture or wild birds. "

"Citizens have a lot of questions about antibiotic-resistant germs and are concerned," the head of health continues. “We will publish the detailed findings of this special series of examinations together with the routine findings in a detailed report from the health department. With comprehensive information, we also want to help reduce diffuse fears. In addition, Prof. Heudorf will be happy to answer questions from local advisors during their meetings. "

At the end of September 2017, employees of the Health Department and the University of Bonn had already taken samples from all 19 bodies of water, which the Health Department has been sampling quarterly for 30 years. The main at Fechenheim and Höchst, the Nidda at Harheim and Rödelheim, were examined, three places each (one before and two after the sewage treatment plants) in Erlenbach, Eschbach and Urselbach as well as a sampling point at Kalbach, Königsbach, Liederbach, Sulzbach, Westerbach and in the vine pond.

“Pathogens with resistance to the reserve antibiotics carbapenems or colistin were found in five samples, only one of these pathogens was found in a body of water after a sewage treatment plant, the other samples came from waters without influence of the sewage treatment plant. In addition, nucleic acids were found in eight water samples using a different method, which can form a specific enzyme that breaks down the antibiotic carbapenems, a carbapenemase of the type OXA-58, ”reports the deputy head of the health department, Prof. Ursel Heudorf.

“This type of OXA-58 carbapenemase is mostly associated with environmental pathogens and has so far been found very rarely in pathogens in humans. The very sensitive PCR method can also detect small residues of pathogens that have already died, so that no statement can be made as to whether, how and when they can be taken up by bacteria capable of reproduction, ”adds Prof. Dr. Martin Exner, in whose institute the investigations were carried out. “In total, carbapenemases could also be detected in two pathogens with carbapenem resistance, one OXA 51 carbapenemase and one KPC. The E coli pathogen with KPC is currently being further investigated using whole genome sequencing. "

In early summer, several pathogens with carbapenemase KPC2 were found in both Eschbach and Mühlgraben. In the samples taken at the end of September, such antibiotic-resistant pathogens with KPC were only found once in Urselbach, not in Eschbach.

The health department has advised against swimming in the surface waters in Frankfurt for years and recommends washing hands after direct contact with water or mud. "The extent to which we are dealing with an increasing spread of antibiotic-resistant pathogens can only be determined by long-term studies," says the hygienist Prof. Exner, who examines water and waste water nationwide as part of the HyReKa study. "From the current findings, there is no indication of a risk to the population if the recommendations of the health department are followed."

Further information on the scientific collaborative project “HyReKA” can be viewed on its website. The project researches the distribution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria through wastewater, for example through wastewater from hospitals, municipal wastewater or even wastewater from animal fattening farms. Based on the results of the HyReKA project, recommendations for action should be formulated, particularly for politics.

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Video: webinar recording: a strategy to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria (December 2021).