APIC Supports "Get Smart About Antibiotics Week"

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) is supporting an effort to promote proper antibiotic use to prevent future drug-resistant strains of bacteria.

APIC is a partner in "Get Smart about Antibiotics Week," a national campaign running Nov. 14-20 and spearheaded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), designed to educate the public about the importance of using antibiotics wisely. During this week, APIC, the CDC, and other organizations are promoting appropriate antibiotic use in inpatient and outpatient settings with a special focus on nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Many bacteria have become resistant to more than one type or class of antibiotic. While infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria have become increasingly common in healthcare and community settings, the good news is that the CDC has recently reported declines in several infections seen in healthcare facilities.

Consumer and healthcare provider awareness about proper use of antibiotics is key to preventing resistance. The CDC's Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work and Get Smart for Healthcare programs are designed to educate these audiences.

Misuse and overuse of antibiotics lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant organisms, says Russell Olmsted, MPH, CIC, APIC 2011 president. Empowering patients and healthcare providers to improve prudent and effective use of these life-saving medications is vital as organisms with new mechanisms to resist their effects are increasing, while the number and range of new agents remain severely limited.

Patients with antibiotic-resistant infections are more likely to have longer and more costly hospital stays, and may have a higher rate of mortality. If the first line of treatment does not combat the infection, second- or third-choice drugs may be even less effective, more toxic, and more expensive.