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Preserving Antibiotics for the Future

Get Smart About Antibiotics: Thursday, November 17, 2011

Did you know?

  1. Antibiotic resistance is one of the world’s most pressing public health threats.
  2. Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat life-threatening bacterial diseases.
  3. Increased antibiotic resistance is compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics.
  4. Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, and policy makers must work together to employ effective strategies for improving appropriate antibiotic use – ultimately saving lives.

Looking ahead at the problem

No single strategy can solve the antibiotic resistance problem; a multi–pronged approach is required.

  • No single strategy can solve the issue of antibiotic resistance; a multi‐pronged approach is required.
  • We must educate everyone about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance and the appropriate use of antibiotics.
  • We must eliminate all inappropriate use of antibiotics – in human medicine, animal medicine, and agriculture.
  • We must prevent the emergence and transmission of resistant infections through research into new vaccines and diagnostics and by implementing other effective infection prevention and control initiatives.
  • Improving antibiotic use takes time and resources, but is well worth the investment.

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Why we must act now

  • Antibiotics are a shared resource – and becoming a scarce resource.
  • Appropriate use of existing antibiotics can limit the spread of antibiotic resistance, preserving antibiotics for the future.
  • Antibiotic resistance is not just a problem for the person with the infection. Some resistant bacteria have the potential to spread to others – promoting antibiotic-resistant infections.

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Changing the way we think about antibiotics for the future

  • Antibiotic use is a healthcare-quality issue that impacts patient safety.
  • Investments in appropriate antibiotic use will pay off, saving lives and money.
  • Healthcare facilities must have support for antibiotic stewardship interventions and programs in order to manage antibiotic use.
  • Ensuring the success of antibiotic stewardship programs is a collective effort.
  • Resistant organisms will continue to develop, so it is important that we continue to pursue the development of new antibiotics while preserving the ones we have today.

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Vaccines as a tool for addressing antimicrobial resistance

  • Developing new vaccines can decrease rates of antibiotic‐resistant infections. The first pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was licensed in the U.S. for use in infants and children in 2000.
  • By 2010, cases of resistant pneumococcal disease decreased by 66% in children younger than 5 years of age.
  • PCV13, licensed in 2010, provides an opportunity to prevent even more antibiotic-resistant infections of pneumococcal disease.

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