Houston Health Department

Surveillance, Detection, and Reporting


Several data sources are used to assess and track antibiotic resistance. These systems provide an understanding of known and emerging resistance in order to inform solutions like containment, prevention and outbreak response. These sources include:

1. Notifiable conditions

Several Texas laws (Health & Safety Code, Chapters 81, 84, and 87) require specific information regarding notifiable conditions be provided to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Healthcare providers, hospitals, laboratories, schools, and others are required to report patients who are suspected of having a notifiable condition (Chapter 97, Title 25, Texas Administrative Code).

For information on reportable multidrug resistant organisms, see below.

Immediately report isolates of vancomycin intermediate and resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) and (VRSA) by calling 800-252-8239 or faxing 512-776-7616.

Isolates of VISA and VRSA shall be submitted to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Laboratory Services Section, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, Texas 78756-3199. All reports of VISA and VRSA shall include patient name; date of birth or age; sex; city of submitter; anatomic site of culture; date of culture; and minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) if available. 

2. CDC Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network (ARLN)

In the fall of 2016, CDC launched the Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network, or ARLN. The ARLN is a comprehensive laboratory capacity network working to improve testing capacity for antimicrobial-resistant and difficult to treat pathogens.

As part of this initiative, the Houston Health Department was funded to accept isolates, confirm and characterize the mechanisms of resistance for Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA).

For additional information on participating in this instrumental program to rack the trends in these highly resistant organisms see below. City of Houston isolate submission letter City of Houston lab microbiology test request form Antibiotic Resistance Lab Networks are laboratories working together nationwide to rapidly identify antibiotics resistance bacteria that are hard to treat infections.

3. University of Houston Collaborative

The Houston Health Department has previously contracted with the University of Houston College of Pharmacy (UHCOP) to assist with coordination of a Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) surveillance network for hospitals in the city of Houston.

Information in this section includes summary of the protocols for active surveillance of C. difficile and CRE, environmental sampling of MDRO organisms, summary of data from the surveillance network, and methodology.

4. Texas Health Care-Safety (HAI/PAE) Report by Healthcare Facility

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has created a system to track Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs). For more information on what general hospitals and surgery centers are required to report, please visit the Texas Health Care Safety Network.

Chapter 98 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, (Reporting of Health Care-Associated Infections and Preventable Adverse Events), and 25 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 200 (Health Care-Associated Infections) requires the Texas Department of State Health Services to establish the Texas HAI Reporting System. These were created to provide the public with HAI data and to support quality improvement and infection control activities in health care facilities.

Find more information on these HAI reporting requirements.

Obtain a report for a specific hospital or ambulatory surgery center in Texas.