Journal article

Temporal variability of antibiotics fluxes in wastewater and contribution from hospitals

Significant quantities of antibiotics are used in all parts of the globe to treat diseases with bacterial origins. After ingestion, antibiotics are excreted by the patient and transmitted in due course to the aquatic environment. This study examined temporal fluctuations (monthly time scale) in antibiotic sources (ambulatory sales and data from a hospital dispensary) for Lausanne, Switzerland. Source variability (i.e., antibiotic consumption, monthly data for 2006–2010) were examined in detail for nine antibiotics – azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, clarithromycin, clindamycin, metronidazole, norfloxacin, ofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, from which two main conclusions were reached. First, some substances – azithromycin, clarithromycin, ciprofloxacin – displayed high seasonality in their consumption, with the winter peak being up to three times higher than the summer minimum. This seasonality in consumption resulted in seasonality in Predicted Environmental Concentrations (PECs). In addition, the seasonality in PECs was also influenced by that in the base wastewater flow. Second, the contribution of hospitals to the total load of antibiotics reaching the Lausanne Wastewater Treatment Plant (WTP) fluctuated markedly on a monthly time scale, but with no seasonal pattern detected. That is, there was no connection between fluctuations in ambulatory and hospital consumption for the substances investigated

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