Finally, in the news this week we will take a look at the problem of antibiotic overuse in hospital facilities around the country. The CDC held a press conference recently to talk about the issues facing the nation as we have more and more drug resistant super bugs out there from resistant C. diff to MRSA and VRSA.
30% Reductions in Antibiotic Use is Key
According to the CDC a 30% reduction in prophylactic antibiotic use could reduce the incidence of these infections. They point out that C. diff infections cause 14,000 deaths each year in the US from the dehydrating diarrhea it causes. The CDC reviewed over 300 hospitals and their prescriptions for the year 2010 and they found that over one half of the patients received a prescription for antibiotics while they were in the facility.
One third of the antibiotic prescriptions were written without first conducting a proper evaluation or lab testing. The CDC recommends a series of concrete steps to take to combat antibiotic overuse:
- Appointing a doctor to lead a program on responsible antibiotic use.
- Appointing a pharmacist to improve antibiotic prescribing.
- Starting with at least one step, such as requiring prescriptions be reassessed within 48 hours.
- Monitoring patterns of prescribing and antibiotic resistance.
- Reporting data on prescribing and antibiotic resistance to doctors.
- Educating doctors about the danger of antibiotic resistance.
The CDC cautions, though, that these steps must be implemented throughout the country to be effective at reducing or slowing the advance of resistant superbugs. They believe that it’s not too late to reduce drug resistance in C. diff and other bacteria. We have to act before we lose the ability to combat bacterial infections entirely which could happen in our lifetime.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode –Scanadu Vital Signs, Reebok Concussion CheckLight and Episode 287.