As the battle continues against hospital-acquired infections and the concurrent rise in antibiotic resistance among many of the major causative pathogens, there is a dire need to conduct controlled experiments, in order to compare proposed control strategies. However, cost, time, and ethical considerations make this evaluation strategy either impractical or impossible to implement with living patients. This paper presents a multi-scale model that offers promise as the basis for a tool to simulate these (and other) controlled experiments. This is a “unified” model in two important ways: (i) It combines inter-host and in-host dynamics into a single model, and (ii) it links two very different modeling approaches - agent-based modeling and differential equations - into a single model. The potential of this model as an instrument to combat antibiotic resistance in hospitals is demonstrated with numerical examples.

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Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. This article first appeared in Journal of Theoretical Biology. Volume 421, 21 May 2017, Pages 112–126.

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