One of the world’s most pressing public health threats is something we often forget about, and one we are guilty of creating, antibiotic resistance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than two million people in the United States alone get infections that are resistant to antibiotics every year – and at least 23,000 people die as a result.
Allergan announced today that it is joining with the CDC during “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week” to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use.
Antibiotic stewardship is key to stopping the spread
“Antibiotic stewardship is critical to protecting the antibiotics we currently have available to treat these serious, drug-resistant infections, as well as preventing the additional spread of these pathogens,” says Gavin R. Corcoran, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Allergan.
Appropriate antibiotic stewardship practices include:
- Avoiding unnecessary antibiotic use;
- Being aware of antibiotic resistance patterns in our communities; and
- Stopping the spread of these organisms in hospitals and communities through effective infection control measures.
This week Allergan will distribute copies of the CDC’s materials to 29,000 healthcare practitioners across the United States, including nearly 8,000 infectious disease specialists to help support awareness efforts.
Bacteria that are becoming resistant
Most bacteria are classified into two groups—Gram-positive or Gram-negative—depending on whether they retain a specific stain color. Among current bacterial resistance threats, certain Gram-negative pathogens are particularly worrisome because they are becoming resistant to nearly all drugs that would be considered for treatment. According to the CDC, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is one of the top three high-consequence antibiotic-resistant threats in the U.S. today. Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC)-producing bacteria are a common subset of CRE bacteria and account for approximately 85 percent of all CRE infections in the U.S. While KPC infections were once seen in limited locations in the U.S., these infections now are found throughout the country.
The continued spread of more common resistant pathogens, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is also an ongoing concern. Although rates of invasive hospital-acquired MRSA infections have been declining in recent years, the CDC continues to list MRSA as a serious threat to patients. During the past decade, rates of non-invasive MRSA infections, such as acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections (ABSSSI), have increased rapidly among the general population, and these infections often result in hospitalizations that can lead to further spread of the pathogen.5 As the prevalence of ABSSSI caused by MRSA continues to increase, reducing hospitalizations and readmissions may be an important consideration in infection control programs.
For additional information about “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week,” please visit www.cdc.gov/getsmart.
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