Twenty-six groups join forces to battle antibiotic resistance

Infectious diseases chief: Antibiotic resistance has 'reached the point of urgency'

CDC, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and 23 other organizations this month announced a joint effort to combat the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant infections.

"Antibiotic resistance has become one of the world's most pressing health problems," says RWJF's Brian Quinn, adding, "Antibiotics continue to be overused at alarming rates across the country." Data from the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases show that more than 70% of bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections are resistant to one or more antibiotics that are used to treat them.

Moreover, common infections are becoming difficult to treat with frequently used antibiotics as a result of drug resistances, says AAP's Clara Filice. For example, resistant bacteria that cause urinary tract infections (UTI) increased 30% between 1999 and 2010.

According to a joint statement, the 26 organizations—which include the National Association of Public Hospitals and the Society of Hospital Medicine—"recognize our collective responsibility to protect the effectiveness of all antibiotics—those we have today, and those yet to be developed." As such, the groups have committed to work together to:

  • Improve coordination between stakeholders in antibiotic effectiveness;
  • Optimize antibiotic use through stewardship programs and interventions;
  • Identify effective examples of antimicrobial stewardship and replicate their best practices;
  • Support research to improve understanding of resistance;
  • Use information about antibiotic use to better define "appropriate antibiotic use;"
  • Improve surveillance;
  • Encourage the develop of products to combat resistance;
  • Communicate the threat of resistance to the public; and
  • Work with regulators to promote judicious use of antibiotics in animals and agriculture (Krupa, American Medical News, 11/26; RWJF release, November 2012).

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