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Antimicrobial Resistant Infections Focus Area

Antimicrobial Resistant Infections Surveillance Activities

The Antimicrobial Resistant Infections Focus Area support routine surveillance for high-threat multi-drug resistant organisms associated with healthcare-associated and wound infections, sexually transmitted infections, and enteric infections.

Pathogens of interest include:

  • ESKAPE+ pathogens
  • Candida auris
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Pathogenic Escherichia coli, Shigella spp.
  • Salmonella enterica, nontyphoidal Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp.
  • Norovirus, rotavirus, enteric adenovirus
  • Cryptosportium spp, Giardia lamblia, Entamoeba histolytica, Cyclospora cayetanesis

The AMRI Focus Area END STATE is increased global surveillance of MDROs and other militarily relevant infections, whether nosocomial, community-acquired, wound, sexually transmitted, or gastrointestinal. This End State will be achieved through an integrated and collaborative laboratory network conducting surveillance across human, animal, and environmental domains, ultimately to improve the health and readiness of U.S. military forces.

Importance of AMR Surveillance within the U.S. Military

Antimicrobial resistance has been accelerated by inappropriate antibiotic use and infection control practices, ineffective or absent surveillance systems, and underdeveloped or non-existent mechanisms to ensure drug quality. In response to this growing public health concern, the White House issued an executive order followed by its National Action Plan (2020-2025) for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria. These documents mandate that U.S. government agencies work domestically and internationally, to mitigate this critical health and security threat.

As a globally positioned force, the U.S. military is at increased risk of exposure to AMR infections. Multidrug-resistant organisms have been found to contaminate the wounds of injured U.S. personnel in military treatment facilities and the field, demonstrating that robust surveillance efforts are necessary to better understand and prevent these exposures. ESKAPE+ pathogens pose a particular threat due to their virulence, capacity for developing drug-resistant genes, and ability to transfer drug-resistant genes to other bacteria.

As a population, U.S. military personnel tend to be young and sexually active. They have been shown to be at higher risk for contracting an STI compared to other groups, and the incidence of STIs among U.S. military personnel remains high. Some STIs, such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Mycoplasma genitalium, have demonstrated the capacity for dangerous drug resistance and warrant vigilant surveillance efforts to monitor for this threat.

U.S. military personnel deploy to austere environments where the risk of exposure to enteric diseases may be significant. In these environments, routine preventive health efforts are not always practical or sufficient and enteric diseases can rapidly spread through units. Enteric disease has played a significant role in the outcomes of military campaigns throughout history, and diarrheal illness continues to threaten operational capability through mission degradation, lost time available, and propensity for outbreaks. Many of the causative bacterial enteric pathogens also have the capacity to develop drug resistance, further emphasizing their importance for surveillance efforts.

AMR Focus Area Surveillance Categories

  • Surveillance of ESKAPE+ pathogens via laboratory (strain-based) surveillance
  • Surveillance of ESKAPE+ pathogens from trauma-related infections
  • Surveillance of MDROs within the Military Health System
  • Surveillance of sexually transmitted infections
  • Surveillance of acute gastroenteritis and acute diarrhea

Key Reach Back Partners & Support

Partners Support
Naval Health Research Center
Bacterial sequencing support for enteric pathogens
Uniformed Services University Gonococcal Reference Laboratory & Repository
Confirmatory testing and advanced characterization of N. gonorrhoeae and M. genitalium, protocol evaluation, training, troubleshooting, and proficiency testing
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Multi-drug Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network
Bacterial sequencing, advanced characterization, and training

See what GEIS is doing to combat febrile and vector-borne infections, and respiratory infections.

If you are involved with the Department of Defense medical community and are interested in partnering with GEIS, or if you would like more information, please contact us.

Last Updated: September 15, 2023
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