Author – Jean B. Patel, PhD, D(ABMM)
Deputy Director for CDC’s Office of Antimicrobial Resistance
CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion
Each year, millions of Americans take antimicrobial drugs, including antibiotics. People have come to trust and rely on antibiotics to always be there to fight their worst infections. However, new drug-resistant pathogens continue to emerge, finding ways around our most powerful treatments. As the threat of untreatable infections grows, preventing the spread of antimicrobial resistant pathogens remains important.
CDC joins the World Health Organization and other health partners in recognizing today as World Health Day, which this year spotlights the growing global problem of antimicrobial resistance – when germs change in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs to treat them. Today’s resistant infections are often more severe, leading to longer hospital stays and increased costs for treatment.
As part of this global effort, CDC – in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other partners – recently released A Public Health Action Plan laying out 11 key goals to combat antimicrobial resistance in the areas of surveillance, prevention and control, research and product development. This plan is the result of years of work and provides a framework for the way forward. Patients, healthcare providers, hospitals and policy makers must continue to work together to employ effective strategies to improve the appropriate use of the drugs that fight these infections – and ultimately save lives.
I believe that patients and healthcare providers have a role to play in preventing drug-resistant infections.
Healthcare providers, are you doing everything you can to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment of infections? Are you prescribing antibiotics appropriately and following infection prevention techniques to stop the spread of drug-resistant infections?
Patients, are you making the situation better by not pressuring your doctor for antibiotics and taking antibiotics as prescribed? Are you refusing to share or save antibiotics for future use?