About the network
EARS-Net is a European wide network of national surveillance systems, providing European reference data on antimicrobial resistance for public health purposes. The network is coordinated and funded by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. EARS-Net is the largest publicly funded surveillance system for antimicrobial resistance in the European region.
The coordination of EARS-Net, the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (former EARSS), was transferred from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in January 2010.
EARS-Net maintains a comprehensive surveillance and information system with European reference data on antimicrobial resistance for public health purposes. The results contribute to greater public awareness and scientific understanding of antimicrobial resistance and its importance in public health.
Data collection and analysis
How are the data collected and processed?
Antimicrobial resistance in Europe is monitored by a network of national surveillance systems in the European countries.
The national networks systematically collect data from clinical laboratories in their own countries. At present these include 900 public-health laboratories serving over 1400 hospitals in Europe and providing services to an estimated population of 100 million European citizens.
The national networks upload the data to a central database maintained at ECDC (The European Surveillance System - TESSy). After uploading, each country approves its own data and the results are made available from the ECDC website.
In order to maintain and facilitate the data reporting, ECDC ensures:
- Validation of data from antimicrobial susceptibility tests of seven important bacteria pathogens isolated from patients with invasive infections;
- Analysis of trends in the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance over time and between different countries and regions;
- EQA and protocols on testing methods to improve the consistency and quality of the data;
What surveillance data are collected?
Since the program began in January 1999 the laboratories have collected antimicrobial resistance data on more than 400,000 invasive isolates.
EARS-Net performs surveillance of antimicrobial susceptibility of seven bacterial pathogens commonly causing infections in humans:
- Streptococcus pneumoniae
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Enterococcus faecalis
- Enterococcus faecium
- Escherichia coli
- Klebsiella pneumonia
- Pseudomonas auruginosa
EARS-Net also collects denominator data on laboratory/hospital activity and patient characterics.
Publication of results
EARS-Net maintains an interactive database and publishes Annual reports. This constitutes an important source of information on antimicrobial resistance for policy makers, scientists, doctors and the public.
- Interactive database providing user friendly display of selected results in various downloadable formats, such as tables, figures, and maps;
- Annual reports with interpretations and conslusions regarding trends in the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance across Europe;
EARS-Net interactive Database
The main tool for displaying data from the EARS-Net is an interactive database accessible on this website, which allows the user to display selected results in various formats, such as tables, figures and maps.
EARS-Net management and coordination
The EARS-Net is managed and coordinated by ECDC and supported by a Coordination Group composed of individual experts selected among the nominated disease specific contact points.
For any inquiries on EARS-Net and its website, please approach EARS-Net contact persons in the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
For technical problems or any inquiries/feedback about the EARS-Net interactive database, please contact TESSy Helpdesk.
The European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (EARSS), established in 1998, is the predecessor of the current EARS-Net.
Following years of increasing concern for the occurrence and spread of antimicrobial resistance, the European Commission invited scientists, doctors and public health specialists to a ‘Microbial Threat Conference’ held in Denmark in September 1998. One conclusion of the conference was that a European surveillance system for antimicrobial resistance should be established.
EARSS was initially funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs (DG SANCO) and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports (RIVM). The network steadily grew and involved an increasing number of European countries. In 2001 a follow-up EU conference was held in Sweden and it was decided that all EU Member States should join the EARSS initiative.
The EARSS network aimed to serve as a basis for an integrated public health strategy for containing antimicrobial resistance. In pursuing this, EARSS collaborated closely with other EU-funded projects e.g. the European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption (ESAC) and Antibiotic Resistance Surveillance and Control in the Mediterranean Region (ARMed). EARSS also worked in partnership with the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) and in particular with two of the society’s subcommittees: the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility testing (EUCAST) and the Study Group for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance (ESGARS).
By January 1st, 2010, the administration and coordination of EARSS was transferred from RIVM to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The network was renamed to ‘European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net)’.