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 (harmful 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

Help Prevent Infections and their Spread

  • Follow infection prevention and control guidelines (including screening at-risk patients when indicated):
  • Ask patients if they have recently received care in another facility or traveled to another country (germs can spread easily across borders).
  • 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
  • Alert the receiving facility when transferring patients who are colonized or infected with antibiotic-resistant germs, and ask colleagues to use an Inter-Facility Infection Control Transfer Form pdf icon[PDF – 3 pages]
  • Educate patients on ways to prevent spread
  • Stay informed of current outbreaks
Improve Antibiotic Prescribing

Improve Antibiotic Prescribing

Antibiotics save lives, but any time they are used it can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance.
  • Follow clinical and treatment guidelines. Support CDC’s Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship to ensure appropriate antibiotic use
  • Consider fungal infections for patients with respiratory infections that do not respond to antibiotics, for example:
    • Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis)
    • Histoplasmosis
    • Blastomycosis
  • Watch for signs and symptoms of sepsis: Clinical Resources and Guidelines
  • Perform appropriate diagnostic tests to guide antibiotic therapy, including correct drug, dose, and duration
  • Optimize TB therapy: Treatment for TB Disease
Be Alert and Take Action

Be Alert and Take Action

  • Be aware of infections and resistance patterns in your facility and community
  • Ensure you are notified by lab immediately when antibiotic-resistant germs are identified in your patients
  • Inform patients and families if they have an antibiotic-resistant infection, as well as sexual partners when appropriate (e.g. gonorrhea)
  • Know when to report cases and submit resistant isolates to the health department to help identify unusual resistance or treatment failures
    • For example, report gonorrhea isolates with decreased cephalosporin susceptibility or clinical treatment failure to CDC through your state or local public health authority