CDC Strives to Improve Infection Control
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is targeting antibiotic resistance with a report that states improving infection control will save as many as 37,000 lives. The Vital Signs report from the CDC predicts the continued increase of drug-resistant infections like Clostridium difficile nationwide. Healthcare agencies need to take steps to prevent cross-contamination and prevent outbreaks of superbugs.
The agency states the country is at a tipping point with an increased number of germs failing to respond to antibiotics due in part of the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics and poor infection control. This is at the heart of recent outbreaks of C. difficile and other drug-resistant bacteria like carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or Staphylococcus aureus.
Today, even facilities that follow the guidelines regarding infection control and responsible prescribing of antibiotics may see an increase in deadly infections, explains CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH.
The Cost of Resistance
The resistance concern extends beyond human lives, as well. Drug-resistant infections are a cost problem for a country trying to control escalating health care expensive. Antibiotic resistant organisms cause more than 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths at a cost of billions.
Calling for Change
The CDC is calling for a change in the industry in an attempt to shift the odds back in our favor. The report list a two-prong approach to controlling the escalation.
Public health departments should begin tracking drug-resistant outbreaks locally and alert all health care agencies in the area to the potential risk. This will all hospitals and doctors offices to monitor the problem and takes steps especially when transferring patients from one facility to the next.
Health care facilities must improve communication and begin working together along with public health agencies to improve infection control protocols and prevent the spread of resistance organisms.
The CDC model shows how coordination between agencies can help. In an area with 10 facilities that share patients, no coordination will result in 2,000 patients getting CRE, one of the most deadly superbugs. If one facility improves infection control like switching to single-use devices, for example, it might reduce that number by 500. With a coordinated approach, however; the outbreak drops to just 400 infections – affecting only 2 percent of the local population.
The CDC is asking local public health departments to take the lead and identify health care facilities in the area and how they might connect to one another. They can help staff members enhance connections and improve infection control, as well.
With effective implementation of this new plan, the CDC believes they can prevent more than 600,000 antibiotic-resistance infections, save 37,000 lives and 7.7 billion dollars over the next five years.