Scotland Healthcare observes “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week”

Staff report

LAURINBURG — Scotland Health Care System announced its commitment to support the initiative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance.

The CDC, along with a broadening coalition of partners, will observe the eighth annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week during Nov. 16-22. Get Smart About Antibiotics Week in 2015 is the first annual World Antibiotic Awareness Week, designed to coincides with European Antibiotic Awareness Day, and other similar campaigns across the world.

“CDC’s observance and promotion of “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week” is a major component of the organization’s goal to improve the proper prescribing and use of antibiotics in communities, healthcare facilities, and in livestock production,” said Brian Dial, pharmacist at Scotland Memorial Hospital.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when disease-causing bacteria respond less favorably, or not at all, to the medications developed to kill them. According to the CDC, “each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections.

Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed medications used to combat illness and have been credited with saving countless lives over the decades since their discovery. However, an unintended consequence of their widespread use has been the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Several factors are credited with having led to this phenomenon. Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics are ineffective, however, in the treatment of illnesses, such as the common cold or flu, which are caused by viruses. Additionally, antibiotics are often included in feed used for commercial livestock production.

Complicating the picture is the fact that there have been fewer antibiotics developed over the last 20 to 30 years to effectively combat this emerging problem. As a result, the only effective alternative treatment options in many cases are agents which may significantly increase the risk of additional concerns such as significant side effects, drug interactions, and exorbitant costs.

“Everyone should be concerned about this issue because antibiotic resistance anywhere is antibiotic resistance everywhere,” said Dr. Lauri Hicks, Director for CDC’s Office of Antibiotic Stewardship. “In order to minimize the impact of antibiotic resistance, it is important that everyone only takes antibiotics prescribed for themselves, implement proper hand hygiene in their everyday routine, receives recommended vaccinations, and discusses their concerns about antibiotic resistance with their healthcare provider.”

In the fall of 2014, President Obama issued an executive order directing the federal government to increase efforts to control conditions related to antibiotic-resistant infections. Subsequently, a national action plan was developed with the goals of requiring measures intended to combat the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria, strengthening surveillance efforts, encouraging applied antibiotic research, and improving international collaboration.

“Scotland Health Care System will be engaged in various activities this week as part of its ongoing effort to increase awareness of appropriate prescribing and use of these lifesaving medications,” Dial said. “Plans include educational discussions with providers and healthcare associates of Scotland Health Care System as well as community engagement.”

For information about the use of antibiotics, contact Dial at 910-291-7000.

Staff report

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