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The European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (EARSS) annual report 2001 has recently been published and widely distributed among all EARSS participants, public health institutes, ministries of health and other collaborating projects and organisations in Europe and beyond (1). From EARSS data it can be concluded that proportions of antimicrobial resistance vary markedly between European countries (figures 1 and 2). This is most likely to be as a result of differences in hospital infection control activities and the antibiotic prescribing practices. However, many other variables exist, some of which can interact with those mentioned above.


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