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WEB TRAWL
  1. Robyn Webber, Web Editor

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    This month we consider two European web sites that are of international interest. The first provides data on drug induced lung disease, the second collects and provides data on antimicrobial resistance in Europe.

    http://www.pneumotox.comBased in France, at the University Hospital in Dijon, the group running this web site collect together papers dealing with drug induced lung disease. On accessing the home page, the user can select which language they wish to use (a choice of English, French, or Spanish is provided). The home page also provides links to two different search methods. Firstly, the user can search by generic drug name; by the name alone, or with different patterns of lung damage that may occur. Alternatively, they may search by clinical or radiological pattern of lung involvement. Whichever search method is used, the user is provided with a list of published papers dealing with the drug in question and, as appropriate, lung conditions it has been associated with. It is stated on the web site that the list of papers provided is not necessarily exhaustive, but some indication is given of the number of known cases of association between the drug in question and the given condition. Although superficially this seems a simple web site, it in fact provides a wealth of useful information. Information is updated regularly, and a date on which the site was last updated (last month at the time of writing) is stated. Use of the web site is unrestricted and its content will be of interest to doctors and other healthcare professionals in a wide variety of disciplines.

    http://www.earss.rivm.nl This is the web site of the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance System (EARSS). EARSS is an international network of surveillance systems, based in a number of European countries, which collect data on antimicrobial resistance. The home page provides links to pages giving details of how EARSS is organised at a national level, a list of participating countries and individuals, relevant meetings, and standardised protocols for evaluating antimicrobial resistance and collecting data. Much of this is probably only be of interest to microbiologists, and indeed access to parts of the web site is restricted to microbiologists and their staff. Of more general interest, and available to all users, is a database pertaining to resistant bacteria. The data can be searched by pathogen, antibiotic, year, or geographical region. Different pages on the web site seem to have been updated at different times, and indeed some of the information on the organisation of EARSS is several years old. The protocols and database however are current, although the information available for 2005 is understandably limited at present. Surprisingly for a European web site, only one language option (English) is available, but it is entirely possible that other language versions are available, but not accessible from the English version. The web site in general will be of specific interest to microbiologists and laboratory staff, but the database will of interest to anyone wishing for information on antimicrobial resistance.

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