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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of September 10, 2017

SEP 16, 2017 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF

#3: Where Will the Next Pandemic Threat Come From? Public Health Watch Report

In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which ravaged Texas and Florida (as well as the Caribbean), respectively, wouldn’t it be nice to know what other threats could target our shores?

Well, when it comes to infectious disease pandemics, such knowledge can be a double-edged sword. True, to be forewarned is to be forearmed and “better the devil you know,” etc; but, increased awareness has also led to irrational panic. Think: the US media in the face of the Ebola crisis in 2015.

However, although such shrill reporting of the 3 cases of Ebola to hit North American shores back then led to much hand-wringing (and, to be fair, much-needed public health reform at the national level), actual data highlighting real potential future pandemic threats to the American people have received relatively scant attention in the press.

Read the rest of the Public Health Watch Report, here.

#2: On the Front Lines in the Fight for Antimicrobial Stewardship: The Importance of AST

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) and reporting for antimicrobials informs and optimizes prescribing and detects resistance.1 It also serves as an important component of hospital antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) efforts to combat urgent multidrug-resistant (MDR) Gram-negative infections. When facing a critically ill patient with a suspected Gram-negative bacterial infection, delayed appropriate therapy can be lethal. This represents a particular challenge with the rapid pace at which resistant Gram-negative organisms emerge and render our existing antimicrobial arsenal less effective. In addition, lack of information about the nature of the infection is a weak link that contributes to antimicrobial resistance through improper prescribing. AMS remains critical in the race against antimicrobial resistance.

The value that AST provides to clinicians to inform antimicrobial selection in support of AMS efforts cannot be overstated. The Joint Commission recently issued Standard MM.09.01.01, effective January 1, 2017, requiring hospitals, critical access hospitals, and nursing care centers to implement and prioritize AMS programs.2 The standard outlines core components that should be present in all AMS programs; calls for education of clinicians, staff, and patients about antimicrobial resistance and the appropriate use of antimicrobials; and requires that hospitals and nursing care centers collect, analyze, and report data on their AMS programs and use these data to improve them. However, the standard does not address the role of AST in AMS or the challenges surrounding AST. Thus, it misses a key element in rapidly identifying infectious organisms and selecting the appropriate antimicrobial agents for treatment.

Read more about AST, here

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