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New CDC Guidelines Target Drug-Resistant Infections

Hospitals and other health care facilities urged to step up prevention and track infection rates

FRIDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines aimed at halting the increase in antibiotic-resistant infections in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities. The CDC is urging health care facilities to launch aggressive infection-control programs targeting drug resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance increasingly allows bacteria to survive the antibiotics that once eradicated them. Some 63 percent of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria were antibiotic-resistant by 2004, up from just 2 percent in 1972, the CDC states. These include the growing problem of methicillin-resistant S. aureus.

"Effective and comprehensive programs to prevent drug-resistant infections are essential to improve patient safety," Denise Cardo, M.D., director of the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, said in a statement. "We need to reduce the number of these serious and potentially life-threatening infections," she said.

The new guidelines, hammered out by infection control experts, require health care facilities to staff and fund prevention programs, track infection rates, use up-to-date infection-control, and tailor prevention programs to specific situations. If these efforts fail, all high-risk patients will have to be screened for drug-resistant bacteria, the CDC warns.

More Information -- CDC
More Information -- PDF of Guidelines

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