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Antibiotic-Resistant Infections on the Rise in the U.S.

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Hospitals Source of Most Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

Recently the Centers for Disease Control released a report revealing that the rate of infectious infections resistant to antibiotics is on the rise and the main culprits are hospitals.  An estimated 2 million people in the U.S. get drug-resistant infections each year and about 23,000 die.  Hospitals are a primary source of antibiotic-resistant infections because of the high use of antibiotics in hospital settings.  Within hospitals, bacteria are able to develop resistance to the most common antibiotics used to treat them at high rates of speed.  Similarly, part of the problem is that antibiotic use is so common for unnecessary reasons outside of the hospital setting that doctors are running out of a toolkit of arsenals to fight these deadly infections.

4 out of 5 Americans on Antibiotics

In April, the CDC reported that enough antibiotics are prescribed that approximately 4 out of 5 Americans are currently taking one.  Up to 50% of antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly or to people who do not need them.  Pediatricians have urged doctors to discontinue prescribing antibiotics unless it’s absolutely necessary.  The current report also revealed that antibiotic-resistant infections cost the healthcare system an excess of $20 billion in costs each year.  Another area of concern for the overuse of antibiotics is in food production, and the CDC points out that the Food and Drug Administration has pushed for responsible use of antimicrobials, as well as telling producers to cut down on antibiotics used for growth purposes in livestock.

CDC Lists Most Harmful Germs, Emphasizes Simple Measures to Cut Risks of Infection

The CDC’s report lists the most harmful germs for the first time, including drug-resistant gonorrhea (especially in men) and C. diff.  However, there are ways to prevent the spread of drug-resistant infections including making sure that doctors thoroughly wash their hands, ensuring that IVs and catheters only stay in as long as necessary, and antimicrobial stewardship programs that promote the correct use of antibiotics.  Patients and family members should also feel comfortable speaking up in the hospital if they feel something isn’t right.