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EMBRACE-WATERS statement: Recommendations for reporting of studies on antimicrobial resistance in wastewater and related aquatic environments



A One Health approach requires integrative research to elucidate antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the environment and the risks it poses to human health. Research on this topic involves experts from diverse backgrounds and professions. Shortcomings exist in terms of consistent, complete, and transparent reporting in many environmental studies. Standardized reporting will improve the quality of scientific papers, enable meta-analyses and enhance the communication among different experts. In this study, we aimed to generate a consensus of reporting standards for AMR research in wastewater and related aquatic environments.


Based on a risk of bias assessment of the literature in a systematic review, we proposed a set of study quality indicators. We then used a multistep modified Delphi consensus to develop the EMBRACE-WATERS statement (rEporting antiMicroBial ResistAnCE in WATERS), a checklist of recommendations for reporting in studies of AMR in wastewater and related aquatic environments.


Consensus was achieved among a multidisciplinary panel of twenty-one experts in three steps. The developed EMBRACE-WATERS statement incorporates 21 items. Each item contains essential elements of high-quality reporting and is followed by an explanation of their rationale and a reporting-example. The EMBRACE-WATERS statement is primarily intended to be used by investigators to ensure transparent and comprehensive reporting of their studies. It can also guide peer-reviewers and editors in evaluation of manuscripts on AMR in the aquatic environment. This statement is not intended to be used to guide investigators on the methodology of their research.


We are hopeful that this statement will improve the reporting quality of future studies of AMR in wastewater and related aquatic environments. Its uptake would generate a common language to be used among researchers from different disciplines, thus advancing the One Health approach towards understanding AMR spread across aquatic environments. Similar initiatives are needed in other areas of One Health research.

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