What I Did Not Know about Antibiotic Resistance

Recently, I attended an educational event hosted by the DFWHC Foundation involving Antibiotic Stewardship.  Dr. Ed Septimus, Director of Infection Prevention and Epidemiology at HCA Healthcare System, gave a wonderful presentation that even I, who am not a clinician by trade, gained some valuable insight. As a regular healthcare consumer, I am aware of new strands of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. It is also believed that over usage of antibiotics has caused us to be immune to their affect.  Gone are the days when you call your doctor and get a prescription over the phone without being seen.  What I was not aware of was the following:

1)      Bacteria resistance for selected pathogens has increased.  For example, Staphylococcus aureus resistant to methicillin has increased almost 70% since about 1975.

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2)      Antibiotic development by drug companies has significantly decreased due to declining research investments.

3)      Use of Antibiotics in Animals.

These items combined with misuse and poor compliance with regimens has created what Dr. Septimus referred to as the “Perfect Storm” of Antimicrobial Resistance. The example that really caught my attention was the use of antibiotics in animals. I did not realize farm animals were given regular doses of antibiotics as a preventative measure. This means healthy cows are being given an antibiotic when unnecessary.  Antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella have already been found in animal products in the human food supply.  Needless-to-say, my family will definitely benefit from the many facts learned at this event. I will pay closer attention to foods purchased and perhaps whine less about unnecessary antibiotics.

I would love to hear your comments and thoughts.  Please contact me at tmendoza@dfwhcfoundation.org.