Prof. Hans-Uwe Dahms
Kaohsiung Medical University
|Title: Antibiotic resistance in aquaticsystems: sources, sinks, and pathways|
Infectious diseases are on the rise. Over 250 million cases of gastroenteritis, respiratory diseases and more than 5 million cases of hepatitis are reported annually worldwide. Reasons for this are an ever increasing world population and the ease of travelling that enhances the risk of disease spread. An unprecedented rise of antibiotic resistance of most pathogenic microbes and viruses provides another serious health risk. We show that the aquatic environment with freshwater, brackish and seawater components provide a serious source of antibiotic resistant pathogens. Here, some pathogens even get more virulent than in their human host. This way environmental health as a branch of public health gets unexpected importance with several facets of the natural and man-made environment that affects human health.Three basic disciplines generally contribute to the area of environmental health: environmentalepidemiology, toxicology, and exposure science. Information from these three disciplines can be combined to conduct a risk assessment for specific physical, chemical, or biological hazards. Such risk factors, separate or in combination, determine whether an exposure poses significant risks to human health. This can in turn be used to develop and implement environmental health policies that regulate chemical emissions, or impose standards for proper sanitation. This way environmental health management can become a tool of preventive medicine. Preventive medicine as a branch of public health attempts to prevent diseases such as infectious diseases, as opposed to disease treatment. Just as public health focusseson a variety of physical and mental states, so do disease and disability, which are affected by genetic predisposition, disease agents, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Public health provides an interdisciplinary approach to epidemiology, health services, and biostatistics, community health, behavioral health, health economics, public policy, occupational safety and environmental health. We willprovide examples here from antibiotic resistance of human pathogenic bacteria that were collected from freshwaters, brackish and coastal waters. These are posing threats to foodand drinking water safety of coastal populations and respective ecosystems.Green synthesis of nanostructures applied as novel antibiotics may provide a way out of the AB-resistance crisis. They can be produced at low cost and in a sustainable way.
Hans-Uwe Dahms was born in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. He received his PhD and DSc degrees in Biology from University Oldenburg, Germany. He is currently a Professor at the Department of Biomedical Science and Environmental Biology in Kaohsiung Medical University (KMU - Taiwan). His current research is equally concerned about Environmental and Public health. This includes green technologies to monitor, remediate and sustainably manage environmental and medical issues in aquatic systems.