CDC's Vital Signs report puts antibiotic-resistant HAIs in the crosshairs

The latest issue of the CDC's monthly Vital Signs report is taking serious aim at correcting practices relating to antibiotic resistance, including recommendations for antibiotic prescription, guidelines for preventing antibiotic-resistance hospital-acquired infections and promoting better use of data to mitigate infections.

In addition to Vital Signs, the CDC released its National and State Healthcare-Associated Infection Progress Report and its Antibiotic Resistance HAI Patient Safety Atlas, a new digital application that includes data for healthcare facilities by region to coordinate prevention initiatives based on their respective risks.

"HAIs are commonly caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which may lead to sepsis or death," according to Vital Signs. "One in seven catheter- and surgery-related HAIs in acute care hospitals, and one in four catheter- and surgery-related HAIs in long-term acute care hospitals, is caused by any of six resistant bacteria (not including Clostridium difficile)."

Those bacteria are Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, two types of resistant Enterobacteriaceae, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas, and multi-drug resistant Acinebacter. Although C. diff is the most common type of bacteria to cause HAIs, most of it isn't resistant to antibiotics.

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology issued a statement in support of the takeaways in the latest Vital Signs shortly after its publication.

"APIC believes that the U.S. must do more to protect the 2 million Americans who develop infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and the 23,000 who will die as a result," the statement reads. "More than half of all hospitalized patients will get an antibiotic at some point during their hospital stay, but studies have shown that 30 to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed in hospitals are unnecessary or incorrect, contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance."

Additionally, APIC concludes many healthcare facilities aren't doing enough to combat the ongoing threat of infectious disease and antibiotic-resistance. Vital Signs included specific recommendations for healthcare CEOs and administrators:

"Healthcare facility CEOs/ administrators can

  • Prevent infections and their spread: Follow CDC guidelines for preventing infections and promote data use to target prevention and improvements. Make sure staff follow hand hygiene, isolation, and environmental/device cleaning practices.
  • Improve antibiotic use: Establish stewardship program and enroll your hospital to submit data to CDC's Antimicrobial Use and Resistance (AUR) Module to target improvements.
  • Prioritize: Make infection prevention, sepsis prevention, and stewardship a priority; participate in a Quality Innovation Network."

The March issue of Vital Signs includes infographics on actions for preventing antibiotic-resistant infections, various HAIs and links to a number of resources for providers, found here.

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