A modeling framework for the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistance: literature review and model categorization.


Antibiotic-resistant infections complicate treatment and increase morbidity and mortality. Mathematical modeling has played an integral role in improving our understanding of antibiotic resistance. In these models, parameter sensitivity is often assessed, while model structure sensitivity is not. To examine the implications of this, we first reviewed the literature on antibiotic-resistance modeling published between 1993 and 2011. We then classified each article's model structure into one or more of 6 categories based on the assumptions made in those articles regarding within-host and population-level competition between antibiotic-sensitive and antibiotic-resistant strains. Each model category has different dynamic implications with respect to how antibiotic use affects resistance prevalence, and therefore each may produce different conclusions about optimal treatment protocols that minimize resistance. Thus, even if all parameter values are correctly estimated, inferences may be incorrect because of the incorrect selection of model structure. Our framework provides insight into model selection.

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