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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2015 Jun 5;370(1670):20140080. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0080.

Surveillance of antibiotic resistance.

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Department of Healthcare-Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance, Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control, Public Health England, London NW9 5EQ, UK


Surveillance involves the collection and analysis of data for the detection and monitoring of threats to public health. Surveillance should also inform as to the epidemiology of the threat and its burden in the population. A further key component of surveillance is the timely feedback of data to stakeholders with a view to generating action aimed at reducing or preventing the public health threat being monitored. Surveillance of antibiotic resistance involves the collection of antibiotic susceptibility test results undertaken by microbiology laboratories on bacteria isolated from clinical samples sent for investigation. Correlation of these data with demographic and clinical data for the patient populations from whom the pathogens were isolated gives insight into the underlying epidemiology and facilitates the formulation of rational interventions aimed at reducing the burden of resistance. This article describes a range of surveillance activities that have been undertaken in the UK over a number of years, together with current interventions being implemented. These activities are not only of national importance but form part of the international response to the global threat posed by antibiotic resistance.


antibiotic susceptibility testing; interventions; public health threat

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