“Get Smart” About Antibiotics Campaign Launched

GetSmart_logoThe North Carolina Quality Center, an initiative of the North Carolina Hospital Association, in cooperation with the NC DHHS Division of Public Health, has launched a statewide public awareness campaign to educate health care consumers on the pros and cons of antibiotics.

“Our goal is to begin the conversation between a doctor and patient,” said Carol Koeble, MD, director of the NC Quality Center. “It’s important to know when an antibiotic is necessary. The truth is, for viruses like the flu, an antibiotic can do you more harm than good.”

Each year, more than two million Americans get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and 23,000 die as a result. Terms like C diff and MRSA have become commonplace in hospitals and physician offices across North Carolina. According to a landmark CDC report from September 2013, the overuse of antibiotics is a significant factor fueling the problem. The World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) consider antibiotic resistance to be one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of hospital patients being admitted with or developing infections that are related to antibiotic overuse,” said Zack Moore, MD, of the NC DHHS Division of Public Health, which monitors hospital-acquired infections across the state. “There has been more than a 900 percent increase in deaths from Clostridium difficile (C diff) alone since 2001. That is an alarming statistic that should cause all of us to pay attention to this issue.”

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