The chapter aims to reveal the complex relationships between antibiotic resistance in bacteria and heavy metal pollution at the human/animal interface. The antibiotic resistance is a continuously growing threat for both people and animals. Animals could represent a source for zoonotic microbial contamination of humans as subject for consumption and also as contacts (companion, sports, zoo animals, etc.). Antimicrobial treatments in animals, if uncontrolled or injudicious, could raise antibiotic-resistant strains to be transferred to humans where they can cause even more severe diseases. Moreover, the environment has its own microbiome, including some nonpathogenic but antibiotic-resistant species. Human industrial activities are carried out in certain environments, with particular microbiomes and also where animals bearing antibiotic-resistant bacteria are present. Thus, the degree of pollution with heavy metals, as part of the global pollutants to the environment, could impact on the bacteria and their resistome with severe consequences for inhabitants of the area.
Part of the book: Antibiotic Use in Animals