The ECO.SENS Project is the first international survey to investigate the prevalence and susceptibility of pathogens causing community-acquired, uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women. At 240 centres in 17 countries, female patients presenting with symptoms of uncomplicated UTIs were asked to provide a urine sample for testing for the presence of leucocytes and bacteria. The bacteria were identified and their susceptibility to 12 antibiotics commonly used in the treatment of UTIs was determined. The objective of the survey was to collect 5000 urine samples to obtain approximately 3500 isolates of defined uropathogens. This interim report includes the results from 1960 urine samples, 75% of which contained a uropathogen. Escherichia coli accounted for the majority (80%) of uropathogens isolated in all 17 countries. The rates of resistance among E. coli strains were: ampicillin and sulphamethoxazole, 30%; trimethoprim alone or with sulphamethoxazole, 15%; nalidixic acid, 6%; ciprofloxacin, 3%; amoxycillin-clavulanic acid, mecillinam, cefadroxil, nitrofurantoin and fosfomycin,
Resistance to antibiotics is very high in the intensive care units of many countries, although there are several exceptions. Some infections are becoming extremely difficult to treat. The risk of cross-transmission of those strains is very high. This review focuses on recent data (2003 to the present) that may help understanding and dealing with this serious public health problem.
Intensive care units can be considered as 'factories' for creating, disseminating and amplifying resistance to antibiotics, for many reasons: importation of resistant microorganisms at admission, selection of resistant strains with an extensive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, cross-transmission of resistant strains via the hands or the environment. Some national programs can be considered as failures, as in the UK and the USA. Other countries have been able to maintain a low level of resistance (Scandinavian countries, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Canada). There is clearly an 'inoculum effect' above which preventive measures become poorly efficient. Several preventive measures have been proposed including preventive isolation, systematic screening at admission, local, national or international antibiotic guidelines, antibiotic prescriptions advice by infectious-disease teams, antibiotic prevention with selective digestive decontamination, antibiotic strategies such as 'cycling', or rather, for some authors, the use of an 'à la carte' antibiotic strategy which could be considered as a 'patient-to-patient antibiotic rotation'.
There is obviously an international concern regarding the level of resistance to antibiotics in the intensive-care-unit setting. A strong program including prevention of cross-transmission and better usage of antibiotics seems to be needed in order to be successful. We do not know if this kind of program will enable countries with a very high endemic level of resistance to decrease the level in future years.