Identifying hotspots for antibiotic resistance emergence and selection, and elucidating pathways to human exposure: Application of a systems-thinking approach to aquaculture systems

Aquaculture systems are highly complex, dynamic and interconnected systems influenced by environmental, biological, cultural, socio-economic and human behavioural factors. Intensification of aquaculture production is likely to drive indiscriminate use of antibiotics to treat or prevent disease and increase productivity, often to compensate for management and husbandry deficiencies. Surveillance or monitoring of antibiotic usage (ABU) and antibiotic resistance (ABR) is often lacking or absent. Consequently, there are knowledge gaps for the risk of ABR emergence and human exposure to ABR in these systems and the wider environment. The aim of this study was to use a systems-thinking approach to map two aquaculture systems in Vietnam ( striped catfish and white-leg shrimp) and to identify hotspots for emergence and selection of resistance, and human exposure to antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.