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Protecting Patients and Stopping Outbreaks

Your patients can get infections when receiving healthcare, called healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). HAIs are commonly caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens (germs), which may lead to sepsis or death. People can also get antibiotic-resistant infections in their community, for example, gonorrhea, tuberculosis (TB), or foodborne infections.

Take the following actions to help protect your patients and people in the community from antibiotic-resistant infections.

Help Prevent Infections and their Spread

  • Follow infection prevention and control guidelines:
  • Alert the receiving facility when you transfer a patient with an antibiotic-resistant infection, and ask colleagues to use an infection control transfer form
  • Ask patients if they have recently received care in another facility or traveled to another country
  • Ensure your patients receive recommended vaccines, and talk to them and their families about:
    • Preventing infections
    • Keeping scrapes and wounds clean
    • Managing chronic conditions
    • Seeking medical care when an infection is not getting better
    • Understanding when antibiotics are needed

Improve Antibiotic Prescribing

Antibiotics save lives, but any time they are used it can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance.

Be Alert and Take Action

  • Monitor infections, including resistant infections, in your facility, and be aware of antibiotic resistance patterns in your facility and community
  • Ask the lab to notify you immediately when resistant infections are identified in your patients
  • Inform patients and families of an antibiotic-resistant infection
  • Know when to report treatment failures to a public health department
    • For example, report gonorrhea isolates with decreased cephalosporin susceptibility or clinical treatment failure to CDC through your state or local public health authority
  • Consider the communities you serve in regards to common infections, including resistant infections
    • For example, gonorrhea and staph can be concentrated in specific geographic locations and communities