Frequently Asked Questions
Supporting Global Surveillance of Infectious Diseases

WHONET is an information system developed to support The World Health Organization's (WHO) goal of global surveillance of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents. Microbiologists, clinicians and infection control workers may use its software to enhance monitoring of drug resistance in their hospitals and communities and to merge their files into national, regional, and global networks for surveillance of drug resistance. WHONET software can be installed on personal computers and be configured for the locations of the patients a laboratory serves and for the antimicrobial agents it tests. The program accepts susceptibility test results and allows printing of reports and logbooks and retrieval of data. If the laboratory already has a computerized reporting system, a translation program can be created to download the laboratory's files into WHONET. Either way, the microbiologists and other infectious disease specialists gain new analytical tools to monitor and manage susceptibility test quality and the spread of drug resistance locally and outside their area.

WHONET can also analyze stored data. From a single screen, a WHONET user selects the type of analysis to run, the species of bacteria to analyze, the subsets of isolates to include (e.g., all, isolates from urine only, and isolates resistant to gentamicin and from certain locations), and the antimicrobial agents and period to examine. Types of analyses include percentage of data categorized as resistant, intermediate, or susceptible by standard or other breakpoints; distributions of test measurements (zone diameter, minimal inhibitory concentration) in the form of histograms; scatterplots comparing measurements for different agents or methods for the same isolates; and line listings of isolates grouped by combinations of agents to which they are resistant (antibiotypes) to trace distinctive strains. Isolates with uncommon antibiotypes can also be flagged on entry so that they may be rechecked while still available, and local outbreaks can be detected early.

Although test results are entered and monitored locally on software configured for local use, they are filed in a universal file format so that any copy of the program can analyze the files of any laboratory. This feature has enabled groups of users in 10 countries to set up passive surveillance systems by pooling and analyzing their files collaboratively. WHONET assists such initiatives by providing file encryption options to ensure confidentiality before data are pooled and analyzed.

Ongoing local analysis by local workers is the foundation of the system. It detects local problems in testing, which no laboratory can avoid entirely, and thus improves the overall quality of the files. It delineates local spread of drug-resistant strains, which aids infection control and can explain and correct uncommon prevalence of certain types of drug resistance at certain sites. It allows local workers to distinguish their problems from those of other sites and focus on infection control or antimicrobial use that might be related to those problems.

Expansion of the system has been recommended by the WHO Scientific Working Group on Monitoring and Management of Bacterial Resistance to Antimicrobial Agents.

Getting Started


a) Download WHONET to your computer
b) Install WHONET to your computer

a) If you will manually enter your data, create your lab in WHONET, then go to Data entry to get started right away.
b) If you will convert your Laboratory Instrument data or Laboratory Information System data into a standard WHONET file then open up BacLink to create a file configuration and convert your .txt file to a WHONET file. Once you have converted your .txt file to a WHONET file you can analyze your laboratory data.

MANUAL Analysis
a) For Data analysis, Open WHONET -> then select Data analysis -> Data analysis
b) For Quick analysis, Select Data analysis, Quick analysis
c) Understanding your data, visual outbreak detection versus statistical outbreak detection.

a) Please contact for assistance!

a) Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly WHONET-SaTScan reports. *Please contact for assistance!


* We are always updating and improving WHONET. For now we recommend frequently checking the Help -> Check for updates -> Confirm an update is available -> click the link to download leading edge.

If you received and error message prior to updating your WHONET version then please try your action again to see if the problem still exists. If it does, then please;

a) Send a screen shot of the error so that we can try to reproduce on our test servers in Boston.
b) Please tell us what you were trying to do when you received the error message.
c) Check C:\WHONET for an error log file.
d) Send that information to for our assistance.
e) We will attempt to reproduce on our test server in Boston and follow up with an explanation asap.

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