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How Poor Antibiotic Prescribing Puts Patients at Risk for Deadly Infections

Categories: Disease Detectives, Public Health Partners, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

 Yellow-green fluorescence of Clostridium difficile (or C.diff)

Antibiotics save lives, but poor prescribing practices are putting patients at unnecessary risk for preventable allergic reactions, super-resistant infections, and deadly diarrhea. Errors in prescribing practices also contribute to antibiotic resistance, making these drugs less likely to work in the future. Because we’ve used antibiotics so widely and for so long, the infectious organisms antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them and made the drugs less effective. Over time, if we don’t use antibiotics correctly, we’ll lose them.

“Part of [CDC’s] role is to sound the alarm about health threats and do whatever we can to address those threats,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., “As an infectious disease doctor myself, I recall running out of antibiotic options for my patients, and I don’t want to see that kind of situation spread in this country.”

Antibiotic resistance is already a serious problem in U.S. healthcare. Each year in the United States, more than 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and 23,000 people die as a result.

Keeping Tabs on Deadly Diseases

Categories: Disease Detectives, Emergency Preparedness & Response, Innovative Labs

(Above photo: Created by CDC microbiologist Cynthia Goldsmith, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion.)

This post originally appeared in CDC’s blog Public Health Matters.

CDC is responsible for protecting the public from a host of health threats, including some pretty scary pathogens, like Ebola virus or anthrax for example. One way we do this is through our Select Agents Program which is responsible for governing and regulating the use of certain pathogens by research facilities and labs around the world. In the beginning of December I had the remarkable opportunity to accompany the inspection team who helps regulate the Select Agents Program on one of their routine lab inspections. I was invited to an inspection of a laboratory in the Southeast region of the U.S. that handles rare and dangerous pathogens to get a glimpse of how the Inspection team operates, what they look for, and what they do to protect us.

New Mobile App Helps Providers Prevent Life-threatening Infections in Newborns

Categories: Innovative Labs, Public Health Partners

The phrase, “…time is of the essence,” often rings true when working to protect people from health threats. It is especially true when caring for infants.  CDC launched a new app—Prevent Group B Strep (GBS) — in October 2013 created specifically for busy health care providers on the go.

Each year about 1,200 infants less than 1 week old get early-onset group B strep disease in the United States. Group B Streptococcus bacteria, or GBS, are a leading cause of infection and death within the first week of life. These bacteria can cause life-threating infections, such as sepsis (infection of the blood), pneumonia (infection in the lungs), and meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain).

5 Fast Facts about this Year’s Flu Season

Categories: Public Health Partners, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

 

Image above: Digitally-colorized image of a collection of influenza A virions. The predominant influenza A virus this year is H1N1.

Every season, flu causes on average 200,000 Americans to go to the hospital and kills thousands to tens of thousands of people depending on the severity of the season. Because flu is unpredictable, each season is different. That’s why CDC works hard to protect people by tracking flu every season. CDC  identifies where flu viruses are circulating, those that are most affected by this season’s viruses, and communicates that information to the public.  

Here are some things to know about the 2013-2014 flu season so far and steps you can take to protect yourself from flu. 

CDC’s Top Ten: 5 Health Achievements in 2013 and 5 Health Threats in 2014

Categories: Disease Detectives, Global Health Threats, Public Health Partners, U.S. Disease Outbreaks

 

As the year comes to a close, CDC, America’s health protection agency, looks back at top five health concerns in 2013 and previews the five health threats that loom for 2014.

CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC increases the health security of our nation year in and year out.

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