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Potential link between antimicrobial resistance and climate change 

The association of AMR with climate recently gained attention when resistance was found to increase with rising local temperatures in the USA. Now, new research has investigated whether the explanatory strength of climate variables holds true in a region with diverse healthcare systems and societies and whether a climate change dimension can be identified, using Europe as a case region.

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Image: Artinun Prekmoung/123rf

The study was conducted at the Institute of Infection Control and Infectious Diseases, University Medical Center Göttingen, in collaboration with the Hannover Medical School, both in Germany.

The researchers conducted a 30-country observational study across Europe. Statistical analysis and computer modelling were performed to identify associations between AMR and seasonal temperature, including potential socioeconomic and health system related confounders.

The authors conclude: "Our study identified a novel association between AMR and climatic factors in Europe. These results reveal two aspects: climatic factors significantly contribute to the prediction of AMR in different types of healthcare systems and societies, while climate change might increase AMR transmission, in particular carbapenem resistance."

They add: "While these results remain hypothetical as it is unknown if any causal association exists, future analysis of AMR and climatic developments is necessary to determine whether potential climate change effects on AMR become stronger." 

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