WHO Collaborating Centre for Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance
Our group at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston was designated the WHO Collaborating Centre for Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance in 1986 under the leadership of Dr. Thomas O'Brien following years of work in the molecular epidemiology of emerging resistance and surveillance collaborations worldwide.
We began with a simple premise - that microbiology laboratories worldwide provide a rich yet largely untapped window into evolving microbial populations worldwide. Routine diagnostic tests for pathogen identification and antimicrobial susceptibility should be systematically aggregated and analyzed to support research, public health policy, and infection containment interventions.
A primary focus of our work has been the development of software tools and analysis strategies to enhance the use of available data to support local needs in therapy decisions, laboratory quality assurance, infection control interventions, public health policy, and research.
We have also worked to support public health capacity and collaborations for public health surveillance through technical support and strategic guidance. WHONET is used at present in over 90 countries to support surveillance activities in over 1200 hospital, public health, veterinary, and food laboratories.
In collaboration with the World Health Organization, the European Centres for Disease Prevention and Control, and the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute, we also supported the development of standards for surveillance antimicrobial resistance.
In an NIH-funded MIDAS project (Models of Infectious Diseases Agent Study), we have integrated the outbreak algorithms of SaTScan (www.satscan.org) into the data analysis routines of WHONET. We have retrospectively successfully demonstrated the value of this combined package in detection regional outbreaks of Shigella spp. in Argentina and hospital pathogens in our own hospital. Prospective outbreak detection is underway in both projects.
We also support the USDA component of the US National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), a collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the monitoring or resistance in animal, food, and human isolates of zoonotic pathogens and commensals.