Glossary

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Some of the words and names used can be confusing so we present a glossary of the definitions of some of the terms commonly used in antimicrobial resistance, research and explanations of the acronyms that are often used. It is not a complete list of all words you might come across but we hope the listing is helpful.

 
AMC
Antimicrobial Consumption
AmpC
Ampicillinase
AMR
Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it.
AMS
Antimicrobial Stewardship
AMU
Antimicrobial Use
Antibiotic
Substance produced by or obtained from certain bacteria or fungi that can be used to kill or inhibit the growth of disease-causing microorganisms.
Antibody
Defensive protein produced by an organism in response to the presence of foreign or invading substances such as proteins found on viruses or bacteria.
ARGs
Antibiotic resistance genes
AST
Antimicrobial susceptibility testing
Bacterium
Any of a large group of single-celled organisms which have no organized nucleus.
Biofilm
Colony of billions of bacteria living on the surface of something that can provide them with water and nutrients. The biofilm colony produces a protective slimy coat.
BSI
Bloodstream infection
Cell
This is the basic unit of life. Cells can exist as independent life forms, such as bacteria and protists– or form tissues in more complicated life forms.
Chromosome
Thread-like structures that become visible in the nucleus of a cell just before it divides. Chromosomes carry the genes that determine the characteristics of an organism.
Compound
Two or more chemical elements forming a substance.
Contagious
describes a disease that can be transmitted by contact between one organism and another.
CPE
Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae
Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae
description
Disease Agent
Any organism, such as a bacterium, that can cause disease.
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid – genetic material of almost all living organisms, except some viruses. DNA is formed by two long chains of nucleotides joined together in a double helix.
DRI
Drug resistant infections.
Epidemic
An infectious disease that affects many people at the same time and spreads rapidly.
ESBL
Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase
Evolve
In biology, to develop a characteristic over a period of time as a result of mutation and natural selection.
FQRP
Fluoroquinolone-Resistant Pseudomonas Aeruginosa
Fungus
spore producing organisms such as mushrooms and moulds
Gene
A unit of heredity, a gene is a set of instructions for assembling a protein from amino acids. Each gene is a length of DNA and each chromosome carries a number of genes.
HAI
Hospital Acquired Infection.
Helminth
Any of a group of parasitic worms – such as flukes, tapeworms.
HPV
human papillomavirus
ICU
Intensive care unit
Immune System
Cells of the body that give protection against invasion by foreign micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses. These cells directly attack invading organisms and cells that destroy infected body cells.
Immunization
By introducing a weakened or killed form of a virus into the body the immune system triggers a response to that particular disease thus making the body ready to deal with the actve form of the virus if encountered.
Infection
An invasion of an organism by disease causing micro-organisms.
Infectious
Something capable of causing infection or is caused by an infection.
Interferon
When cells in the body are infected by viruses they produce a protein – interferon – which then travels to other non-infected cells to protect them from infection.
IPC
Infection, prevention and control
Interferon
When cells in the body are infected by viruses they produce a protein – interferon – which then travels to other non-infected cells to protect them from infection.
KPC
Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase
MIC
Minimum inhibitory concentration
Microbe
A minute organism typically visible under a microscope. Microbes include bacteria, fungi and protozoan parasites.
Microbiome
A community of micro-organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of micro-organisms living in or on the human body.
Microorganism
Any microscopic living thing such as bacteria and protists.
M&E
Monitoring and Evaluation
MRSA
Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus
Mutation
A usually harmful change in the genes produced by a change in the DNA as it is copied during cell division.
Mycosis
Growth of fungus on or in the body.
NDM
New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase
Nosocomial
Medical term for a hospital-acquired infection
Nutrient
Any nutritious substance found in food.
OXA
Oxacillinase
Pandemic
An epidemic that is spread over a wide geographical area.
Parasite
An organism living on another and benefiting at the expense of it.
PBP
Penicillin-binding protein
PCV
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
Plasmid
A circular strand of DNA found in bacteria that is separate from the main chromosome DNA.
Protein
One of a group of complex organic molecules that perform a variety of essential tasks in living things.
Protist
Any single-celled eukaryote that is a member of the kingdom Protista
Quarantine
Period of time during which a person or animal suspected of carrying an infectious disease is kept isolated to prevent the spread of disease.
Radiation
Energy transmitted in the form of waves or perticles as a result of the breakdown of a radioactive substance.
RVD
Rational Vaccine Design
Rupture
To break open or burst
SARS
Severe acute respiratory syndrome virus of the genus Betacoronavirus
SHV
Sulfhydryl-variable beta-lactamase
SIR
Susceptible, intermediate, resistant
Spleen
Organ of the body that also destroys old and damaged red blood cells.
Spore
 Resting state of a bacterium entered when conditions are unfavourable. A spore can successfully resist hostile conditions for a long time.
ST
Sequence type
Strain
A group of organisms of one species that have distinctive characteristics but are not sufficiently different to be considered a separate species
Symptom
Any change in mind or body that indicates that someone is suffering from a disease.
Synthetic
Something produced by artificial means rather than naturally.
Toxin
Poisonous substance produced by an organism such as a bacterium.
UTI
Urinary Tract Infection
Vaccination
Giving a vaccine in order to give protection from a disease.
Vaccine
A weakened or killed form of a bacterium or virus that causes disease, given to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against the disease.
Vector
The path by which a disease causing micro-organism travels from one host to another. Biting insects are a common vector of disease.
VIM
Verona integron-encoded metallo-beta-lactamase
Virulent
The disease causing ability of a micro-organism.
Virus
Viruses are disease agents and are true parasites as they need a living organism as a host; they are not complete living organisms. We only began to see them and their variety of shapes after the electron microscope was developed following the Second World War.
VRE
Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), are bacterial strains of the genus Enterococcus that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin.
A One Health approach is needed to fight antibiotic resistance – everyone has a role to play to improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Join the global fightback against AMR