CDC Invests in Multi-Country Projects to Help Stop Spread of Resistance

Posted On: June 2022

Story Highlights
  • As part of the Global Antimicrobial Resistance Laboratory and Response Network, CDC’s global partners are working in six countries to increase understanding of how individuals are becoming exposed to multidrug-resistant organisms.
  • The partners will share their findings with relevant stakeholders and the scientific community to inform prevention tactics that reduce the spread of these germs in regions where resistance data may be limited.
  • This work plays an important role in stopping the silent spread of deadly germs, especially in healthcare settings.

About Antibiotic Resistance

  • Antimicrobial resistance is an urgent global public health threat, killing at least 1.27 million people worldwide and associated with nearly 5 million deaths in 2019. In the United States, more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur each year and more than 35,000 people die as a result.
  • MDROs are germs that are resistant to one or more groups of antibiotic drugs, which means infections become difficult or impossible to treat.
  • Antimicrobial resistance has been identified in all regions of the world and can rapidly spread. Modern travel of people, animals, and goods means resistance can easily spread, too. However, there are considerable knowledge gaps regarding how much antimicrobial resistance occurs in some regions of the world. This is especially seen in low- and middle-income countries that lack laboratories to test for resistance and systems to collect infection data.

As part of CDC’s Global Antimicrobial Resistance Laboratory & Response Network, the Antimicrobial Resistance in Communities and Hospitals (ARCH) partners are investigating high-risk, multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) in six countries to increase understanding of how these pathogens (harmful germs) spread in communities and healthcare settings.

As part of the ARCH work, scientists are gaining a foundational understanding of how individuals become exposed to MDROs. By understanding this exposure, scientists can then work to better target interventions to reduce the spread of these germs. People who are exposed to MDROs can become infected or colonized by the pathogen. Although colonization does not directly cause an active infection, colonized people may be more likely to develop multidrug-resistant infections in the future, and they can spread those pathogens to others.

To gain a better understanding, the ARCH projects include:

  • Conducting questionnaires and collecting specimens in hospitals and communities to determine what increases people’s risk of MDRO colonization. Factors like antibiotic use and recent hospitalization put people at higher risk for acquiring some resistant infections.
  • Testing specimens for extended-spectrum cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacterales (ESCrE) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) to determine the abundance and types of MDROs within healthcare facilities and communities. Some ARCH sites also test for colonization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and colistin-resistant Enterobacterales (ColRE). Some of these pathogens are listed as urgent or serious threats in CDC’s 2019 AR Threats Report.
  • Studying the genetic sequences of these MDROs, which provides insights on how these bacteria develop and spread resistance.

ARCH partners will add to the existing knowledge base by sharing these key findings with relevant stakeholders and the scientific community to inform prevention tactics in regions where resistance data may be limited. By contributing to the global understanding of high-risk MDROs in hospitals and communities, this work will help identify new targets on which to focus to prevent MDRO colonization and the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

In so doing, ARCH is playing an important role in stopping the silent spread of deadly germs, especially in healthcare settings.

Scientists involved in ARCH work with people in the community and in hospitals to assess colonization with high-threat MDROs through risk factor questionnaires and collection of specimens for colonization testing. Here, a Kenya team member interviews a community participant
ARCH Project Kenya Community Participant

Scientists involved in ARCH work with people in the community and in hospitals to assess colonization with high-threat MDROs through risk factor questionnaires and collection of specimens for colonization testing. Here, a Kenya team member interviews a community participant

The Kenya lab team processes samples for the ARCH project.
ARCH Project Kenya Lab Team Processes Samples

The Kenya lab team processes samples for the ARCH project.

Seven sites in six countries participate in ARCH with the goal of increasing global understanding of how MDRO threats spread so prevention efforts can be developed to help stop transmission and save lives.
ARCH Project Botswana Lab Team Processes Sample

Seven sites in six countries participate in ARCH with the goal of increasing global understanding of how MDRO threats spread so prevention efforts can be developed to help stop transmission and save lives.

The Kenya ARCH team at a project launch event.
ARCH Project Kenya Launch Event

The Kenya ARCH team at a project launch event.