The prevalence, sources and diversity of antibiotic resistant E. coli in Scottish surface waters: a baseline for risk assessment and intervention targets

Edinburgh Napier University

Active award

Student: Leonie Henn

Year Award Started:

The alarming rise in resistance to antibiotics is now widely accepted as being one of the most serious public health crises we face today. The use and overuse of antibiotics in human and animal medicine and especially the overuse in animal food production are the main drivers for the emergence of resistance. However, recent research suggests that the natural environment, and especially surface water, is the single largest source of antibiotic resistance. Surveillance is key to inform public health actions and strategies. A number of national monitoring schemes provide ongoing data on antibiotic resistance in human and animal settings, however, no such data is available on environmental antibiotic resistance. The urgency for such data was recently recognised by an EU Committee who called for mandatory monitoring of antibiotic resistance in the environment at a national level to tackle the spread of antibiotic resistance from the environment to humans. This project will provide the first nationwide data on antibiotic resistance in Scottish surface waters. This baseline data will be used to assess the risk to human health and to determine if intervention measures are required to ensure that drinking water sources and bathing waters are protected.

Research area: Infections, inflammation or immunology


Dr Donald Morrison
School of Applied Sciences

Scottish Water