Drug resistance

Detection of Antimicrobial Resistance

Antimicrobial Susceptibility Tests

For most commonly isolated bacterial and fungal pathogens, reliable antimicrobial susceptibility testing can be performed by routine hospital, community, public health, food, and veterinary laboratories. The most common methods utilized are the disk diffusion susceptibility test method (also known as Kirby-Bauer) and minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) determination.

For viruses, parasites, and some bacterial species, the expertise and resources needed for susceptibility testing are beyond the capacity of most routine microbiology laboratories. Consequently susceptibility testing either is not performed or is conducted primarily in reference laboratories.

Laboratory capacity-building and quality assurance

The value of laboratory findings to clinicians and public health authorities depends critically on the reliability of the test results. This requires the use of reagents and equipment of good quality and the training, experience, and motivation of laboratory staff. CLSI, EUCAST, and others describe strategies and protocols for assuring the quality of antimicrobial susceptibility test results.

WHO Headquarters, Lyon Office, Regional Offices, national offices, and Collaborating Centres are active in supporting training activities, quality assurance programs, and resources to laboratories.

Additional Documents