What Can Be Done

Germs are constantly developing resistance against new and older antibiotics.  While antibiotic resistance threats vary nationwide, AR has been found in every state and new types of resistance are constantly developing and spreading. When resistance spreads, it accelerates the threat of untreatable infections.

Enhanced capacity nationwide that supports early, aggressive responses to every case of unusual resistance and vigilant prevention strategies can reduce the number of infections caused by these organisms.

The Federal Government is:

  • Monitoring resistance and sounding the alarm when threats emerge. CDC develops and provides new lab tests so health departments can quickly identify new threats.
  • Improving identification through CDC’s AR Lab Network in all 50 states, 5 large cities, and Puerto Rico, including seven regional labs and a national tuberculosis lab for specialty testing.
  • Supporting prevention experts and programs in every state, and providing data and recommendations for local prevention and response.
  • Testing innovative infection control and prevention strategies with health care and academic partners.
  • CDC funds innovative research to support Safe Healthcare.

State and Local Health Departments and Labs can:

  • Make sure all health care facilities know what state and local lab support is available and what isolates (pure samples of a germ) to send for testing. Develop a plan to respond rapidly to unusual genes and germs when they first appear.
  • Assess the quality and consistency of infection control in health care facilities across the state, especially in facilities with high-risk patients and long stays. Help improve practices.
  • Coordinate with affected health care facilities, the AR Lab Network regional lab, and CDC for every case of unusual resistance. Investigations should include onsite infection control assessments and, colonization screenings for people who might have been exposed to unusual resistance. They could spread it to others.  Continue both until spread is controlled.
  • Provide timely lab results and recommendations to affected health care facilities and providers. If the patient came from or was transferred to another facility, alert that facility.

Health Care Facilities can:

  • Plan for unusual resistance arriving at your facility. Find resources: Interim Guidance for a Public Health Response to Contain Novel or Targeted Multidrug-resistant Organisms (MDROs)
  • Leadership: Work with health department to stop spread of unusual resistance. Review and support infection control in the facility.
  • Clinical labs: Know what isolates to send for testing. Establish protocols that immediately notify health department, health care provider, and infection control staff of unusual resistance. Validate new tests to detect the latest threats. If needed, use isolates from ARIsolateBank.
  • Healthcare providers, epidemiologists, and infection control staff:
    • Place patients with unusual resistance on contact precautions, assess and enhance infection control, and work with health department to screen others.
    • Communicate about patient status if transferred.
    • Continue infection control assessments and colonization screenings until spread is controlled. Ask about any recent travel or health care at-risk patients. (Inter-Facility Infection Control Transfer Form pdf icon[PDF -3 pages])

Everyone can:

  • Inform your health care provider if you recently received health care in another country or facility.
  • Talk to your health care provider about preventing infections, taking good care of chronic conditions and getting recommended vaccines.
  • Practice good hygiene, such as keeping hands clean with handwashing or alcohol-based hand rubs, and keep cuts clean until healed.