Use of Agricultural Fungicides in Hamilton, Ontario


In December 2014, a British-Dutch team reported that fungicide use on crops in British farms is most likely the reason why there is increased resistance to anti-fungals (azoles) used to treat A. fumigatus. The link between agricultural azole use and acquisition of resistance is worrisome as known risk groups could easily breathe untreatable strains of A. fumigatus. Furthermore, there has been arise in the number of  azole naive patients that are diagnosed with resistant strains of A. fumigatus. A possible explanation for this will be that patients inhale these resistant strains from the environment.

Despite recent and growing concerns that use of agricultural fungicides is causing resistance in environmental strains of clinical importance, very little environmental and clinical surveillance is done in Canada. Preliminary results from our study show high levels of anti-fungal tolerance in Hamilton’s environment. We note that the use of agricultural fungicides is not the only selective pressure for the acquisition of resistance in Hamilton.

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