CDC prepares microbiologists for detecting increasing antimicrobial resistance

January 2, 2003

ATLANTA -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a new training tool to assist laboratorians in selecting and using appropriate testing methods to detect antimicrobial-resistant strains of bacteria. The new tool, an interactive CD-ROM-based training course, provides the most extensive compilation of information on antimicrobial resistance testing available to date.

"Antimicrobial susceptibility testing has become more complex in recent years as new drugs have become available and resistance has emerged," said Dr. Steve Solomon, acting director of CDC's healthcare quality promotion program. "This CD-ROM will help microbiologists on the front lines to better detect this emerging problem, which significantly impacts public health across the United States."

CDC estimates that more than 70 percent of the bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treat those infections.

"Accurate antimicrobial susceptibility test results not only help physicians choose the best therapy for their patients, but guide infection control efforts to the most serious infections," said Dr. Fred Tenover, a CDC expert on antimicrobial susceptibility testing and one of three co-authors of the CD-ROM.

CDC plans to distribute approximately 10,000 copies of its new training tool to microbiologists around the country. Upon completion of the course, scientists can receive up to eight hours of continuing education credits (CEUs), marking the first time the agency has offered CEU credits for programs designed to help in identifying antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.

The target audience for this course includes microbiology laboratory directors, supervisors and medical technologists who perform or interpret the results of antimicrobial susceptibility tests in clinical or public health laboratories. Others who are likely to benefit from this program include physicians, pharmacists and medical students.

This training tool complements other CDC resources for microbiologists including CDC's multi-level antimicrobial susceptibility testing educational resources (MASTER) website and a series of national training programs. This website is intended to keep microbiologists informed of antimicrobial susceptibility testing issues related to clinical microbiology laboratory practice. The website can be found at

These tools are part of the overall CDC campaign to prevent antimicrobial resistance in health care settings. The CD-ROM assists institutions in achieving one of the strategies of the campaign; to diagnose and treat infections effectively.

For more information about CDC's campaign to prevent antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings go to For more information about CDC's seven health care safety challenges to improve patient safety go to

Source: CDC

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