profession

26 organizations team up to fight antibiotic resistance

Better coordination is needed to ensure that antibiotics remain effective in treating common infections, experts say.

By — Posted Nov. 26, 2012

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Antibiotic resistance has been a growing health concern for decades. But 26 organizations are joining together to highlight the increasing urgency of the problem and protect the effectiveness of antibiotics for future generations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy are among the 26 organizations that announced the effort on Nov. 13. By signing a joint statement, the groups agreed to better coordinate efforts to fight antibiotic resistance, support related research, improve surveillance and raise awareness.

“Antibiotic resistance has become one of the world’s most pressing health problems,” said Brian C. Quinn, PhD, senior program officer and team director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneer Portfolio, which is aimed at driving social change to improve health. “Antibiotics continue to be overused at alarming rates across the country. This problem is far too widespread to be handled alone.”

In conjunction with the statement, the CDDEP’s Extending the Cure project released its latest data about antibiotic use in different states. The five states with the highest rates of antibiotic use in 2010 were Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia. The states with the lowest use were Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.

“The threat of antibiotic resistance returns again and again, and the threat of untreatable infections looms,” said Arjun Srinivasan, MD, associate director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs with the CDC Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion. “There are patients in hospitals in this country that have infections that we cannot treat with any of the antibiotics that we have.”

Growing urgency

Antibiotic resistance is making some of the most common infections difficult to treat, said Clara Filice, MD, MPH, MHS, pediatric environmental health and food policy fellow with the AAP. A lot of the pathogens that cause infections — such as ear and skin infections — have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

“It is a growing public health crisis,” she said. “It’s something that most, if not all, physicians who are practicing are experiencing.”

More than 70% of bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections are resistant to one or more antibiotics used to treat them, according to the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

Urinary tract infections are the second most common infection in the U.S., accounting for about 8.6 million patient visits annually, the CDC said. If they go untreated, UTIs can develop into serious bloodstream infections. But they are becoming harder to treat with the available arsenal of antibiotics, said CDDEP Director Ramanan Laxminarayan, PhD, MPH. Resistant bacteria that cause UTIs increased more than 30% between 1999 and 2010.

“These findings are especially disturbing because there are few new antibiotics to replace the ones that are becoming less effective,” he said. “New drug development needs to target the types of drug-resistant bacteria that cause these infections.”

There has been some progress. Overall, the percentage of antibiotic prescriptions filled nationwide has dropped 17% since 1999. Use of fluoroquinolones, which are commonly used to treat respiratory infections such as pneumonia, decreased 24% between 2007 and 2010. Deaths related to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus also have declined.

Health care professionals and organizations need to work together to improve antibiotic stewardship and reduce unnecessary use, Dr. Srinivasan said.

“It has reached a point of urgency,” said Henry “Chip” Chambers, MD, chair of the IDSA’s Antimicrobial Resistance Committee and chief of infectious diseases at San Francisco General Hospital. “We can’t invent ourselves out of this mess with new drugs. We are going to have to figure out how to save the ones we have.”

Back to top


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Partners in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Twenty-six organizations have signed a joint agreement aimed at improving stewardship of antibiotics and raising awareness about the dangers of antibiotic resistance.

  • Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Academy of Physician Assistants
  • American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine
  • American Medical Directors Assn.
  • American Public Health Assn.
  • American Society of Health System Pharmacists
  • Assn. for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
  • Assn. of State and Territorial Health Officials
  • Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Consumers Union
  • Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement
  • National Assn. of County and City Health Officials
  • National Assn. of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care
  • National Assn. of Public Hospitals
  • Pediatric Infectious Disease Society
  • Public Health Foundation
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Society of Hospital Medicine
  • The Pew Charitable Trusts
  • The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
  • The Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists
  • Trust for America’s Health

Source: “Joint Statement on Antibiotic Resistance from 25 National Health Organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Nov. 13 (link)

Back to top


External links

Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, Resistance Map, data on the use and effectiveness of antibiotics in the U.S. (link)

“Joint Statement on Antibiotic Resistance from 25 National Health Organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nov. 12 (link)

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story