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Which HAIs Should Healthcare Providers Pay More Attention To?

Marion A. Kainer, MD, MPH, FRACP, FSHEA, Director of Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Program, Tennessee Department of Health, warns of the dangers of the most underrated healthcare associated infections, and explains how best to treat them.

Marion A. Kainer, MD, MPH, FRACP, FSHEA, Director of Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Program, Tennessee Department of Health, warns of the dangers of the most underrated healthcare associated infections, and explains how best to treat them.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

Clostridium difficile infection has a tremendous burden that many healthcare providers don’t understand. The morbidity and mortality [rates associated with C. diff are] quite extraordinary, especially among the elderly.

Probably one of the many things that healthcare providers can do to prevent Clostridium difficile is to really pay attention to antimicrobial stewardship. [Healthcare providers must] only use antibiotics when they are truly needed. We [shouldn’t] treat a person who has bacteria in their urine [assuming that] it’s a urinary tract infection, but all it is, is colonization.

We need to make sure that we only treat bacterial infections, not the colonization, because antibiotics are not without harm. There are adverse medical events, [such as] allergies, yeast infections, the threat of antimicrobial resistance, [and] the total disruption of the human microbiome, [which is] in our guts, protecting us against Clostridium difficile, as well as other antimicrobial resistant organisms.”