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Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI)
Antimicrobial Resistance
What is it?
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms develop the ability to resist the killing activity of antimicrobials. Resistance occurs as a result of antimicrobial overuse. It is important to limit antimicrobial usage to those situations where antibiotics have been shown effective (for example Strep throat) and not for conditions where they do not provide benefit, such as viral upper respiratory tract infections.
Multi-Drug Antimicrobial Resistance
Over time some bacteria have developed resistance to several kinds or classes of antibiotics. These bacteria are referred to as MDROs or multi-drug resistant organisms. These bacteria are often more difficult to treat. Examples include MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE), vancomycin intermediate or resistant S. aureus (VISA or VRSA), carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriacae (CRE). For more information visit CDC's Management of MDRO's in Healthcare.
What is being done to decrease antimicrobial resistance?
The CDC, the FDA, state health departments and local healthcare facilities are supporting efforts to:
  • Reduce unnecessary antibiotic use (Antibiotic Stewardship)
  • Use appropriate precautions to reduce spread of MDROs in hospitals (hand washing, gowns and gloves when necessary, special cleaning or disinfection procedures)
  • Track antibiotic resistance patterns to target reduction efforts via reporting of resistant organisms
  • Encourage development of new antimicrobials

Reporting Antimicrobial Resistance in Nebraska

The Nebraska DHHS Division of Public Health currently requires the following resistant organisms to be reported:

  • Penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • VRE (Vancomycin resistant enterococcus)
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Nebraska is currently working toward a mechanism for reporting carbapenem- resistant enterobacteriaceae, all Pseudomonas spp., all Acinetobacter spp., all Enterobacter spp., and all E. coli.

What can I do to reduce antimicrobial resistance?

  • Hand washing-the simplest but most effective way of reducing transmission of resistant bacteria.
  • Ask your prescriber if antibiotics are necessary and don't insist on antibiotics if your prescriber does not recommend them.
  • Don't discontinue antibiotics earlier than prescribed unless you notify your prescriber- this might allow leftover resistant bacteria the chance to thrive.

For more information about antimicrobial resistance, MDROs, and what you can do to reduce them, please visit CDC's Antimicrobial Resistance Page.

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