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Bloodstream infections, antibiotic resistance and the practice of blood culture sampling in Germany: study design of a Thuringia-wide prospective population-based study (AlertsNet).Bloodstream infections are a major cause of death worldwide; blood culture (BC) sampling remains the most important tool for their diagnosis. Current data suggest that BC rates in German hospitals are considerably lower than recommended; this points to shortfalls in the application of microbiological analyses. Since early and appropriate BC diagnostics are associated with reduced case fatality rates and a shorter duration of antimicrobial therapy, a multicomponent study for the improvement of BC diagnostics was developed.