The ECO.SENS study is the first international survey to investigate the prevalence and susceptibility of pathogens causing community-acquired acute uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs). Midstream urine samples were taken for culture and for testing for the presence of leucocytes from 4734 women not older than 65 years presenting with symptoms of acute UTI at 252 community health care centres in 17 countries. Recognized urinary tract pathogens were identified and the susceptibility to 12 antimicrobials determined. Pathogens were present in 3278 (69.2%) patients, Escherichia coli accounting for 77.0% of isolates. In E. coli, 42% of the isolates were resistant to one or more of the 12 antimicrobial drugs investigated. Resistance was most common to ampicillin (29.8%) and sulfamethoxazole (29.1%), followed by trimethoprim (14.8%), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (14.1%) and nalidixic acid (5.4%). Resistance in E. coli to co-amoxiclav, mecillinam, cefadroxil, nitrofurantoin, fosfomycin, gentamicin and ciprofloxacin was <3%. However, co-amoxiclav resistance was apparent in Portugal (9.3%) as was resistance to the quinolones, nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin, in Portugal (11.6% and 5.8%, respectively) and Spain (26.7% and 14.7%, respectively). Overall, Proteus mirabilis were less resistant to ampicillin (16.1%) and more resistant to trimethoprim (25.5%) than E. coli, whereas Klebsiella spp. were more resistant to ampicillin (83.5%) and fosfomycin (56.7%). 'Other Enterobacteriaceae' were more resistant to the broad spectrum beta-lactams (ampicillin 45.9%, co-amoxiclav 21.3% and cefadroxil 24.6%), nitrofurantoin (40.2%) and fosfomycin (15.6%). In Staphylococcus saprophyticus resistance development was rare. Overall, antimicrobial resistance was lowest in the Nordic countries and Austria and highest in Portugal and Spain.