A Unified Inter-host and In-host Model of Antibiotic Resistance and Infection Spread in a Hospital Ward

Lester Caudill, University of Richmond
Barry Lawson, University of Richmond

Copyright © 2015, Barry Lawson and Lester Caudill, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia.

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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 a numerical example.