An online tool called ResistanceMap, on The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy website, can be used to track the rise in antibiotic-resistant pathogens like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli in the United States.

Created by Extending the Cure, a research project supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the maps will be updated monthly. According to an RWJF news release, policy makers and researchers can use the maps to chart areas in need of better infection control, enhanced surveillance or better antibiotic stewardship.

RWJF says the maps provide a graphic view of trends from 2000 to 2009, for example, how the resistance of E. coli toward cipro has increased by one-third each year and the possibility that this common therapy for urinary tract infections is becoming obsolete. Or that by 2005 some areas of the U.S. already were showing resistance rates to MRSA exceeding 70 percent.

Planned to be added soon on the ResistanceMap are interactive features, data on resistance rates in other countries and new rates of U.S. antibiotic use.