The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called for immediate, nationwide improvements in infection control and antibiotic prescribing to combat increases in drug-resistant infections and Clostridium difficile.
The latest issue of CDC Vital Signs includes mathematical modeling that projects worrisome increases, and concludes a coordinated approach from health care facilities and health departments could prevent up to 70 percent of life-threatening carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections over five years.
Additional estimates show that national infection control and antibiotic stewardship efforts led by federal agencies, health care facilities, and public health departments could prevent 619,000 antibiotic-resistant and C. difficile infections and save 37,000 lives over five years.
Antibiotic-resistant germs, those that no longer respond to the drugs designed to kill them, cause more than 2 million illnesses and at least 23,000 deaths each year in the United States. C. difficile caused close to half a million illnesses in 2011, and an estimated 15,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to C. difficile infections.
The report also describes the importance of public health departments taking the lead to:
- Know how health care facilities in the area are inter-connected
- Dedicate staff to improve coordination with area health care facilities
- Work with CDC to use data for action to prevent infections and improve antibiotic use
- Know the antibiotic resistance threats in the region
Complementing the public health coordination, the report recommends that hospital owners and health care facility administrators consider steps to:
- Review and perfect infection control actions in each facility
- Provide staff access to prompt and accurate laboratory testing
- Alert receiving facilities when transferring patients who have drug-resistant germs
- Join area healthcare-associated infection/antibiotic resistance prevention activities
- Connect with public health departments to share data
Additional recommendations for a coordinated approach for consideration by health departments and health care facilities are detailed in the full report, available here.