In order to reduce the threat of antimicrobial resistance, a first key step is to understand how much resistance there is. This is typically done by looking at bacteria causing serious infections, particularly bloodstream infections. However, growing bacteria from blood usually requires sophisticated machines which heat samples of blood in special nutrients. These machines are not always available in low-income countries where the effects of increasing antimicrobial resistance are being felt most.
It is much easier to grow bacteria from other types of patient sample. What we want to do is work out how similar the patterns of resistance to common antibiotics that we see in bacteria grown from blood are to bacteria grown from other types of samples. We plan to look at this for two very common types of bacteria causing serious infections, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. If we can use resistance patterns from bacteria grown from common types of specimens to predict resistance in bacteria grown from blood, then this would provide a new method for low-income countries to monitor antimicrobial resistance.