The widespread emergence of antibiotic resistance among bacterial pathogens has become one of the most serious challenges in Ethiopia. This study determined the prevalence and drug resistance patterns of bacterial pathogens isolated from treated and untreated wastewater released from Ayder Referral Hospital in Northern Ethiopia. A cross sectional study design was conducted from September-December, 2015 in wastewater released from Ayder referral hospital. A total of 40 composite samples were aseptically collected, transported and processed for enumeration of indicator organisms, bacteriological identification and susceptibility testing following standard procedure. Data obtained were entered and analyzed using SPSS version 20. Mean heterotrophic plate count, total coliform count, fecal coliform count and E. coli count were found to be 1.6 × 106 CFU/mL, 2.2 × 106 CFU/100 mL, 2.0 × 105 CFU/100 mL and 1.1 × 104 CFU/100 mL from treated wastewater respectively. Among the total samples 134 bacterial isolates were detected and [84 (62.7%)] were from untreated wastewater and [50 (37.3%)] were from treated wastewater. The most frequently isolated bacteria from untreated wastewater samples was Klebsiella spp [14 (16.7%)] followed by S. aureus [13 (15.5%)] and P. aeruginosa [12 (14.3%)], similarly in treated wastewater samples Klebsiella spp [10 (20%)], P. aeruginosa [8 (16%)] and S. aureus [8 (16%)] were frequently detected. The overall multi-drug resistance (MDR) in this study was [79/134 (79.1%)]. MDR from untreated wastewater sample was [64/84 (76.2%)] while from treated wastewater sample was [42/50 (84%)] and shows significant difference with (COR: 1.64, 95% CI: 1.15 - 3.29, P: 0.001). It is concluded that treated hospital wastewater contains large numbers of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Therefore, there should be continuous monitoring and evaluation of the effluent quality of the ponds and chlorination of the final effluent should be developed.
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