CDC Vital Signs: Stop the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance (Extended)

CDC Vital Signs: Stop the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance (Extended)


Some germs no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them. In the United States, antibiotic-resistant infections cause an estimated 23 thousand deaths and nearly 2 million illnesses each year. Resistant germs can spread in healthcare settings and are of increasing concern to patient safety. If patients are transferred back and forth from facilities for treatment without all the communication and necessary infection control actions in place germs can spread inside of and between: acute care hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals, and nursing homes. Infections and inappropriate antibiotic use in one healthcare facility can impact other facilities with whom they share patients, even those following recommended guidelines. Public health authorities and healthcare facilities within an area must work together to coordinate infection control efforts and prevent germs from spreading. This simulation illustrates that when healthcare facilities work independently without public health involvement they might not be alerted to: resistant germs, C. difficile, or outbreaks in the area that could affect their patients. Without this additional information, necessary infection control actions may not always be taken, putting patients at risk for infection. If we continue with independent efforts only where hospitals work on their own without coordination through public health leadership modeling suggests that CRE (the nightmare bacteria) could affect nearly 1 in every 10 patients over five years. To quickly respond and stop spread in its tracks, however, public health departments should track and alert healthcare facilities to key resistant germs, C. difficile, and outbreaks in other healthcare facilities in the area. With public health departments coordinating among local facilities, these groups can work together to implement cohesive infection control actions and share their experiences with one another to stop spread. If facilities work as a team to protect patients, modeling suggests that 70 percent fewer patients would get CRE in 5 years. By expanding national efforts with coordinated antibiotic stewardship and infection control activities we could prevent 619 thousand antibiotic-resistant and C. difficile infections and save 37 thousand lives from drug resistant infections over 5 years. This approach is part of a national solution to protect patients from antibiotic resistant infections and C. difficile. It will take leaders across sectors working together and making investments to protect patients and combat what is likely one of the most important infectious disease threats of our time.

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