Skip main navigation

Tracking the spread of antibiotic resistant infections

Graphic of how surveillance can help improve health
Good surveillance is essential for managing the spread of outbreaks and epidemics caused by infectious agents including antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Unfortunately, on a global scale there are still significant gaps in how we identify and track the emergence and spread of drug-resistant strains of bacteria.

Effective monitoring is essential to spot the early warning signs of emerging patterns of drug resistance but it isn’t straightforward and it can be challenging.

However we have seen some successful global disease surveillance programmes especially with gonorrhoea infections as well as TB.

Obtaining good surveillance data can inform local policy and clinical practice, which can ultimately lead to direct benefit of patient, resident and client outcomes.

It can be used to inform treatment decisions in a way that will directly benefit patient health.

At a national or an international level, good surveillance data can inform policymakers and empower them to responding to the challenges of antibiotic resistant infections.

Finally collecting this data over a long timespan will enhance our understanding of the epidemiology and transmission of antibiotic resistance.

In turn this will support the efforts of public health workers and inform the work of researchers who are involved in the development of new drugs and measures to combat the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

© University of East Anglia
This article is from the free online

Using Infection Control to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now