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Notice to Readers: CDC's Campaign to Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance in Health-Care Settings

Each year, approximately 2 million U.S. patients acquire an infection while hospitalized; approximately 90,000 of these infections are fatal. Many more infections are acquired in nursing homes and other health-care facilities in which vulnerable patients receive care. Guidelines for preventing antimicrobial-resistant infections in health-care settings exist; however, these guidelines often are not read by clinicians and adherence is not optimal. Most data indicate that guidelines alone are not effective in preventing antimicrobial resistance. New approaches are needed to help clinicians who treat patients with infections translate these guidelines into routine practice behaviors that will prevent antimicrobial resistance.

In response to this issue, CDC has initiated the "Campaign to Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance." The campaign focuses on four integrated strategies: preventing infection, diagnosing and treating infection effectively, using antimicrobials wisely, and preventing transmission. The campaign is designed to highlight the importance of antimicrobial resistance and engage clinicians, health-care facilities, and patients in efforts to prevent resistance and promote safer care.

The first major new tool is the "12 Steps to Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance: Hospitalized Adults." These steps were derived by translating existing evidence-based guidelines and recommendations into action steps that will help change practices and prevent resistance. The 12 Steps will be marketed through slide sets, web presentations, posters, pocket cards, and other media. Plans are in progress to create similar tools that target other patient groups and their clinicians, including pediatricians, surgeons, critical-care specialists, geriatricians, emergency physicians, obstetricians, and family practitioners.

The campaign provides clinicians with information about the problem of antimicrobial resistance and tools to support needed practice changes. Targeting clinicians at the front end of care through this campaign is an important step toward preventing the morbidity, mortality, and costs associated with drug resistance. The campaign was developed in collaboration with the CDC Foundation and several private- and public-sector partners. Additional information about the campaign is available at

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This page last reviewed 4/18/2002