Anthony D. Harris, MD, MPH
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Harris A.; Control Group Selection Is an Important but Neglected Issue in Studies of Antibiotic Resistance. Ann Intern Med. 2000;132:925. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-132-11-200006060-00024
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2000;132(11):925.
TO THE EDITOR:
Methods of control group selection deserve greater scrutiny in studies of antibiotic resistance. Most case–control studies of antibiotic resistance use a sample of patients with susceptible organisms that are of the same species as those in the control group. For instance, patients with vancomycin-susceptible enterococci are frequently used as controls in studies of vancomycin-resistant enterococci.
However, studies that use a control group with susceptible organisms violate epidemiologic principles of control group selection: Controls should be selected from the same source population or study base that gives rise to the cases. The base should be thought of as members of the underlying cohort or source population for the case-patients during the periods when they are eligible to become case-patients(1-3). Patients with the susceptible organism are not the source population. For pathogens acquired in hospitals, the source population consists of all hospitalized patients. For pathogens acquired in community settings, the source population consists of persons living in the community.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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