Antimicrobial resistance in wastewater of Yangon area

Antimicrobial resistance in wastewater of Yangon Region from One Health perspective

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a global public health problem that occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to the medicines (antimicrobials) used to fight them. This resistance is a major issue on the long term as the resistance makes infections harder to treat and increases the risk of spread of disease, severe illness and death.


Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is of high importance for public health.


In order to help gauge the AMR problem in Yangon Region, Dr. Mya Thandar led a team of scientists to study antimicrobial resistance organisms in diversity of wastewater under One Health’s perspective. It consisted of the identification of background information of wastewater sources, isolating public health importance bacteria, determining the antibiotic sensitivity patten of isolated bacteria, and detecting the extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing organisms and carbapenems producing organisms.



A total of 40 wastewater samples have been collected from poultry farms, aquaculture farms, community drains and hospital drains of Yangon Region that were randomly selected for the study. Once they were gathered, the team could begin with the analysis of the samples.


All of the 40 samples have been positive to one or more isolates, and a total of 106 bacterial isolates have been identified. 50% of them were coming from the hospitals, 31.1% from the community drains, 9.4 % from poultry farms and 9.4% from aquaculture farms. The study of these wastewater samples also revealed that 8 isolates (7.5%) were found to be ESBL producers, which cannot be killed by many of the antibiotics generally used. The ESBL producers detected in the study were Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae.


Out of 106 bacterial isolates, one carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae (Escherichia coli) was detected from one hospital site which was resistant to many antibiotics tested and can affect human health in the upcoming years. To avoid this, it is recommended for the hospitals, poultry farms and aquaculture farms to do pre-treatment of the wastewater to eliminate the presence of hazardous components including microbiological pathogens and antibiotic residues. The study team also recommends the appropriate use of antibiotics to avoid the development of AMR in the long term.



SEAOHUN 2020 Small Grants

Project team leader: Dr. Mya Thandar (University of Public Health)

Team members: Prof. Hla Hla Win, Rector (University of Public Health)

Prof. Khin May Oo (University of Public Health)

Dr. Moh Moh Kyi (University of Public Health, Yangon)

Dr. Myat Su Khiaing (University of Public Health)


- Personal protective equipment, distancing, and group size standards in this photo were consistent with local public health guidance and COVID-19 status in the specific country and time it was taken. This may not reflect best practices for all locations where COVID-19 is still spreading. -

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