Environmental Pressures on Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance can develop through antibiotic use – but what other factors can influence the spread of antibiotic resistance? Researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the University of Toronto discovered two important environmental factors: temperature and population density. Increases in temperature and population density are associated with antibiotic resistance, and resistance may get stronger over time. Findings from this study suggest that current forecasts underestimate the burden of antibiotic resistance. Access the findings published in Nature here.

The morbidity and mortality that result from antibiotic resistance impose social and economic burdens on the working-age population, and in turn, reduce economic output. Health care costs will increase as well. Considering the continually growing population and warming planet, new forecasting models are needed to better estimate the threat of antibiotic resistance and prepare accordingly.

CHDS core faculty Nicolas Menzies models other infectious diseases, such as HIV and tuberculosis, to explore disease trends and estimate burden. Overall, decision science can be utilized in exploring policies to combat these major infectious disease threats and help to design effective methods of control.

Learn more: Explore the CHDS webpage about models and tools here.
Learn more: Read some of the key facts for antibiotic resistance in the WHO fact sheet here.

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