INDIANAPOLIS—This week, November 18-24, is National Get Smart About Antibiotics Awareness Week. The annual campaign, now in its fourth year, is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative that promotes the use of CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work campaign and encourages state-based appropriate antibiotic use campaigns.
“Antibiotic resistance has been tabbed as one of the biggest threats to health today,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “Infections that are resistant to antibiotics can be found in hospitals and increasingly in the community.”
In coordination with Antibiotics Awareness Week, Indiana has released its first ever Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) report. The report will be published annually and serve as a benchmark for infection prevention efforts in Indiana.
HAIs are infections that patients can get while they are receiving treatment in a healthcare setting. They are the most common complication of hospital care and are one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States. Some HAIs are highly resistant to antibiotics.
“We developed this report as part of a national effort to reduce healthcare associated infections,” said Dr. VanNess. “The goal is to increase overall awareness, encourage infection prevention efforts in hospitals and help consumers make more informed decisions about their healthcare.”
Key findings of the report include:
· Indiana hospitals reported the overall number of central line associated bloodstream infections were 41 percent lower than predicted, based on national data. Indiana is on track to meet the national prevention target of a 50 percent reduction in infections.
· Indiana hospitals reported surgical site infections associated with abdominal hysterectomies were 39 percent lower than predicted based on national data. Hospitals in Indiana have already exceeded the national goal of a 25 percent reduction by the end of 2013 and will continue efforts to reduce infections further.
To further address antibiotic resistance, the Indiana State Department of Health, in collaboration with many partners, convened the Indiana Antibiotic Resistance Advisory Committee earlier this year. This advisory committee is working to provide recommendations and guidelines for infection prevention and control measures, antibiotic stewardship, surveillance, laboratory testing and educational opportunities for healthcare providers, laboratories and the public.
Colds, influenza, most sore throats and bronchitis are caused by viruses and antibiotics do not help fight viruses. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases the risk of getting a bacterial infection later that resists antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics cure bacteria, not viruses. Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not cure the infections, help you feel better or prevent others from getting sick.
If you are ill, check with your healthcare provider to see if an antibiotic is necessary. If so, remember these important tips for taking antibiotics:
· When you are prescribed an antibiotic, take it exactly as the doctor tells you.
· Complete the prescribed course even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect you. This is also true for children so ensure all medication are taken as prescribed, even if they feel better.
· Appropriately discard any unused prescription medication you may have. Drug take-back events are a great way to do this.
· Never share your antibiotics with others.
The Indiana State Department of Health developed a State Plan for reducing HAIs and enacted the mandatory HAI reporting rule, which required all hospitals to report HAI data to the Indiana State Department of Health beginning Jan. 1, 2012. Additionally, the Indiana State Department of Health created the Healthcare Associated Infections Resource webpage located at http://www.in.gov/isdh/24769.htm which includes educational materials and resources for healthcare workers and patients. Three online educational modules featured on the website have earned CDC honors.
The 2012 Healthcare Associated Infections Report may be found on the Indiana State Department of Health website at http://www.in.gov/isdh/files/2012_Indiana_Healthcare_Associated_Infections_Report.pdf.
The Healthcare Associated Infections State Plan may be found on the Indiana State Department of Health website at www.in.gov/isdh/files/Indiana_Plan.pdf.
To visit the Indiana State Department of Health, go to www.StateHealth.in.gov. Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.