Antibiotics revolutionized modern medicine and have been an excellent tool to fight infections. However, their overuse and misuse in different human activities such as health care, food production and agriculture has resulted in a global antimicrobial resistance crisis. Some regions such as Latin America present a more complex scenario because of the lack of resources, systematic studies and legislation to control the use of antimicrobials, thus increasing the spread of antibiotic resistance. This review aims to summarize the state of environmental antibiotic resistance in Latin America, focusing on water resources. Three databases were searched to identify publications on antimicrobial resistance and anthropogenic activities in relation to natural and artificial water ecosystems. We found that antibiotic resistant bacteria, mainly against beta lactam antibiotics, have been reported in several Latin American countries, and that resistant bacteria as well as resistant genes can be isolated from a wide variety of aquatic environments, including drinking, surface, irrigation, sea and wastewater. It is urgent to establish policies and regulations for antibiotic use to prevent the increase of multi-drug resistant microorganisms in the environment.
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