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Div. of Media Relations
1600 Clifton Road
MS D-14
Atlanta, GA 30333
(404) 639-3286
Fax (404) 639-7394

March 26, 2002
Contact: CDC Press Office
(404) 639-3286

Press Release

CDC promotes campaign to prevent antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today during the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta, Ga., a campaign aimed at clinicians to prevent antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings.

The campaign, entitled "Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance," centers around four key strategies for preventing antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings: 1) preventing infection, 2) diagnosing and treating infection effectively, 3) using antimicrobial wisely, and 4) preventing transmission of drug-resistant pathogens. Within these strategies are 12 specific action steps derived from evidenced-based guidelines and recommendations already developed by CDC and other organizations that clinicians can take now to prevent antimicrobial resistance in hospitalized adults. In the future, CDC will announce similar action steps for clinicians who care for dialysis patients, emergency room patients, obstetrical patients, critical care patients, patients in long-term care facilities, and pediatric patients.

"Clinicians are always on the go and are bombarded with lots of information about preventing infections. CDC is trying to simplify things by presenting the best practices in simple terms that easily can be recalled and followed by fronting clinicians to protect patients and prevent antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of CDC's program to promote healthcare quality.

The action steps for clinicians who provide care for hospitalized adults include:

Action Step 1: Vaccinate

  • Get influenza vaccine
  • Give influenza / S. pneumonia vaccine to at-risk patients before discharge

Action Step 2: Get the catheters out

  • use catheters only when essential
  • remove catheters when no longer essential

Action Step 3: Target the pathogen

  • culture the patient
  • target empiric therapy to likely pathogens
  • target definitive therapy to known pathogens

Action Step 4: Access the experts

  • consult infectious diseases experts for patients with serious infections

Action Step 5: Practice antimicrobial control

  • engage in local antimicrobial control efforts

Action Step 6: Use local data

  • know your antibiogram

Action Step 7: Treat infection, not contamination

Action Step 8: Treat infection, not colonization

Action Step 9: Know when to say "no" to vanco(mycin)

Action Step 10: Stop antimicrobial treatment

  • when infection is treated or unlikely

Action Step 11: Isolate the pathogen

  • use standard infection control precautions
  • contain infectious body fluids (airborne/droplet/contact precautions)
  • when in doubt, consult infection control experts

Action Step 12: Break the chain of contagion

  • stay home when you are sick
  • keep your hands clean
  • set an example!

CDC is partnering with professional medical organizations including the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Society for Microbiology, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, national medical centers, and other healthcare institutions to distribute, implement, and evaluate campaign materials. Some of the materials being developed include a slide set featuring the 12 action steps and the evidence to support them, posters, brochures, as well as a pocket-size clinician reminder card listing the 12 action steps. The campaign also features a website where clinicians may access the 12 action steps as well as information to share with their patients.

Antimicrobial resistant infections in healthcare settings are a major threat to patient safety. Each year in the United States an estimated 2 million hospitalized people acquire infections that result in more 90,000 deaths. More than half of these infections are caused by bacteria that are resistant to at least one of the antimicrobial commonly used to treat those infections, according to CDC. "We are confident that this campaign will help prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings and make healthcare in the United States even safer than it is today," Dr. Gerberding said.

This campaign is made possible through support from the CDC Foundation For more information on CDC's campaign to prevent antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings go to


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.


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This page last updated March 27, 2002

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