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Seizing the Opportunity in Emerging Health Care Threats

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Contagion, August 2017, Volume 2, Issue 3

As the influential management consultant and business visionary Peter Drucker once said, “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

As the influential management consultant and business visionary Peter Drucker once said, “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” In health care, practitioners and practice leaders do much of the same as new pathogens are continually being found. One new pathogen is Candida auris, and, on page 20, authors Ryan Stevens, PharmD, and William Barany, PharmD, illustrate what we have learned so far about this emerging fungal threat. Since being discovered in the United States in 2013, 77 infections with C. auris have been reported. Perhaps most disturbing is the fact that these infections seem to be mostly health careassociated in nature, shining light on the fact that despite major advances and recent reports of decreasing rates of health care-associated infections,1 much work is still needed to be done.

This can be seen as another opportunity to respond to change. Although some rates of some health care-associated infections may be decreasing, health care providers are still being faced with cases of antibiotic-resistant infections in health care facilities, such as infections with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile. Many of these infections owe their presence to inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released their “Antibiotic Use in the United States, 2017: Progress and Opportunities” report. The authors assert that in order to truly improve patient care, health care providers must focus on appropriate antibiotic use, which not only includes prescribing the appropriate medication, but also prescribing the appropriate duration of therapy.2 To this end, on page 12, authors Alexandra Hanretty, PharmD, and Jason Gallagher, PharmD, explore the appropriate duration of therapy for hospital-acquired pneu­monia and ventilator-associated pneumonia, particularly in terms of de-escalation of therapy. Although not much data exists on de-escalation of therapy, Gallagher and Hanretty assert that the process will not affect treatment and will, in fact, lessen a patient’s chance of becoming infected with more multidrug-resistant pneumonia infections. They stated, “by shortening antibiotic duration, overall antibiotic exposure is lessened, reducing selection pressure for multidrug resistant organisms.”

Though we continue to focus on emerging pathogens and appropriate antibiotic use, we will keep you informed of breaking news and updates through our website, ContagionLive. com, on social media (Facebook [@ContagionLive], Twitter [@Contagion_Live], and LinkedIn [@Contagion_Live]), and in our email newsletters.

Stay informed and thanks for reading!

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthcare-associated infections. HAI data and statistics. CDC website. www.cdc.gov/hai/surveillance/index.html. Published March 2, 2016. Updated October 25, 2016. Accessed July 31, 2017.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Antibiotic use in the United States, 2017: progress and opportunities. CDC website, www.cdc.gov/getsmart/pdf/stewardship-report.pdf. 2017. Accessed July 31, 2017.