Health Department Resources

More than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant (AR) infections occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result (2019 AR Threats Report). Ensuring appropriate use of antibiotics is one of CDC’s core strategies to combat the threat of antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotic stewardship is also important to ensure equitable access to high quality healthcare and to optimize treatment of infections and patient safety.

State, local, and territorial health departments play a critical role in leading antibiotic stewardship efforts and engaging a variety of partners to promote appropriate antibiotic use in all healthcare settings in their communities.

Health departments can optimize antibiotic use in their jurisdiction by implementing antibiotic stewardship activities:

  1. Antibiotic Stewardship Leadership:
    Establish antibiotic stewardship leadership and staff at the health department to develop, implement and evaluate stewardship activities and provide expertise to healthcare settings with limited access to stewardship resources.
  2. Assessment of Antibiotic Stewardship Implementation:
    Identify healthcare professionals or settings where support in improving antibiotic use and enhancing Core Elements of antibiotic stewardship uptake is needed.
  3. Antibiotic Use Tracking and Reporting:
    Monitor antibiotic prescribing to describe variability in antibiotic use and identify where interventions are needed. Measuring antibiotic use is critical to inform, implement, and assess stewardship activities.
  4. Antibiotic Stewardship Action and Implementation:
    Implement evidence-based antibiotic stewardship activities leveraging antibiotic use data and engaging with partners or stewardship collaboratives.
  5. Antibiotic Stewardship Education and Communication:
    Engage with healthcare professionals, patients, and the public to optimize antibiotic use, inform guidelines and policies to strengthen stewardship practice.