Key steps in the CARB plan include slowing the development and preventing the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, strengthening national surveillance efforts, advancing the development and use of rapid diagnostic tests to identify bacteria, accelerating research for new antibiotics, and improving international collaboration in the fight against antibiotic resistance. While better tracking, rapid detection, faster outbreak response, and improved patient care will prove key in the effort against superbugs, Dr. Bell noted that some 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions are given every year in the United States, a number that shows just how manmade this health crisis is. “Infection prevention is really at the foundation of preventing antibiotic resistance,” explained Dr. Bell. “Overuse and misuse of antibiotics, whether it be in healthcare with doctors or on the farm with animals, is the major driver of antibiotic resistance, and there are many strategies that we’re using in healthcare to improve antibiotic use, by making sure that doctors are prescribing antibiotics for the right conditions.”
Improving the use of antibiotic drugs through antibiotic stewardship
will prove key to the success of the Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative. Goals include cutting inappropriate prescribing practices by 50% in doctors’ offices and by 20% in hospitals, improving data on antibiotic use and trends to help us understand current prescribing practices, and implementing stewardship programs using CDC recommendations in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and nursing homes. With few new antibiotic drugs in the pipeline, along with the understanding that an aggressive offensive against superbugs would only fuel new resistance capabilities, Dr. Bell and health officials worldwide emphasized the role of prevention as the best line of defense against these dangerous infections.
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