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CDC, Infectious Disease Professionals Urge Action to Stop the Spread of Antibiotic-resistant Germs

April 06, 2018

In recent weeks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several associations of health care professionals stressed the importance of efforts to combat the spread of unusual germs that are resistant to all or most antibiotics or can spread their resistance to other germs.

CDC calls for coordination, provides consumer guidance 

According to the CDC:

  • Antibiotic-resistant organisms are responsible for more than 23,000 deaths per year, at a cost of more than $20 billion 
  • Lab tests uncovered germs with unusual resistance more than 200 times during 2017

To identify and stop the spread of such germs, the CDC calls on state and local health departments and health care facilities to work with its Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network to strengthen these practices:

  • Rapid identification of resistance and infection control assessment
  • Testing of patients who are without symptoms but possibly carrying and spreading the germ
  • Continued infection control assessments until the spread is stopped

Consumers can take common sense steps to help fight the spread of resistant organisms. The CDC advises the public to:

  • Talk to their health care providers about preventing infections, taking good care of chronic conditions, and getting recommended vaccines
  • Inform health care providers if they recently received health care in another country or facility
  • Practice good hygiene, with handwashing or alcohol-based hand rubs, and keep cuts clean until healed

APIC, SHEA, and SIDP:  Leverage the synergy between antimicrobial stewardship and infection control

Associations of infection control specialists, epidemiologists, and infectious disease pharmacists are calling for greater integration of infection prevention and control and antimicrobial stewardship in hospitals, long-term facilities, and outpatient settings.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), and the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP) released an update to a 2012 paper promoting the effective use of antimicrobials.

The associations’ update stresses the importance of strong programs for:

  • Infection prevention and control:  To detect, control, and prevent infections with multidrug-resistant organisms
  • Antimicrobial stewardship:  To improve patient outcomes, reduce antimicrobial agent-related adverse events, and decrease antimicrobial resistance

To strengthen integration and stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs, the associations recommend measures including:

  • Leadership commitment to support this work
  • Staff education on related protocols
  • Enhanced data tracking of resistant organisms and antibiotic usage

Through its Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network (HIIN), HAP has been supporting hospitals in their work to improve infection prevention practices and antibiotic stewardship.  

For more information on these projects, please contact HAP’s HIIN infection prevention project managers: Mary Catanzaro RN BSMT(ASCP) CIC FAPIC, or Clare Edelmayer RN MT(ASCP) MS CIC FAPIC.

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