Blog | Monday, April 4, 2016

Our slow motion pandemic

“We keep fantasizing about what will be the next biothreat, the next pandemic. It's actually already here! We're going to save our grandparents with triple bypass, but they're going to die from pneumonia, because we will not have the right antibiotics to save them.”
—Dr. Joanne Liu, International President of MSF, on Here's the Thing.

The CDC released its latest edition of Vital Signs, which is dedicated to the problem of antibiotic resistance (AR) among health care-acquired infection (HAI). Using data from NHSN, CDC investigators estimate that the likelihood an HAI is caused by a targeted AR pathogen is 1 in 7 in acute care facilities, and 1 in 4 in long term acute care.

There's good news in the report—the figure below shows impressive progress in reducing central line associated blood stream infection rates, and to a lesser extent surgical site infections and Clostridium difficile. Catheter associated urinary tract infections, though, are a mixed bag (pun intended), and Mike's covered this ground before. For reasons that Eli Perencevich and our colleague Dan Livorsi outline here, it's a shame that CAUTI has become such a prevention focus. Ironically, an unhealthy focus on CAUTI can drive testing and treatment practices that can result in antibiotic overuse, worsening the AR epidemic.

The CDC has released the “AR Patient Safety Atlas”, a new web app with interactive data on HAIs caused by AR bacteria. I am about to post a more detailed item from Scott Fridkin about this exciting new development. Stay tuned!

Daniel J. Diekema, MD, FACP, practices infectious diseases, clinical microbiology, and hospital epidemiology in Iowa City, Iowa, splitting time between seeing patients with infectious diseases, diagnosing infections in the microbiology laboratory, and trying to prevent infections in the hospital. This post originally appeared at the blog Controversies in Hospital Infection Prevention.