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Reducing Antimicrobial Resistance amid COVID-19

July 14, 2022

A new report released this week from the CDC examines the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance amid COVID-19.

The report highlights the significant progress made across U.S. hospitals during the 2010s and the challenges ahead. Between 2012 and 2017, deaths from antimicrobial resistance declined nearly 30 percent in hospitals, the report notes, but the pandemic has created new challenges that need to be addressed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has unmistakably shown us that antimicrobial resistance will not stop if we let down our guard; there is no time to waste,” said Michael Craig, MPP, director of CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Coordination and Strategy Unit.

Among the takeaways from the report:

  • COVID-19-related challenges:  COVID-19 created new antimicrobial challenges related to data collection, patient acuity, length of stay, and the increased use of ventilators and catheters. It took time at the outset of the pandemic before treatment regimens for COVID-19 were established and to ensure that very sick COVID-19 patients were not given antibiotics if they did not have a bacterial infection.
  • Prevention:  Bolstering antimicrobial stewardship requires a comprehensive approach, involving data collection, preventing infections, a focus on proper antibiotic/antifungal use, environmental sanitation practices, as well as improved vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics, CDC officials said.
  • Quotable:  “The best way to avert a pandemic caused by an antimicrobial-resistant pathogen is to identify gaps and invest in prevention to keep our nation safe,” Craig said.

HAP is dedicated to supporting hospitals and health systems as they continue their antimicrobial stewardship programs. More than 90 percent of U.S. hospitals had an antibiotic stewardship program aligned with CDC’s Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship during 2020, the agency said.

Learn more about hospital efforts to reduce health care-associated infections online.

The report also is available to review online.

For more information, contact Mary T. Catanzaro, RN BSMT (ASCP) CIC FAPIC, infection preventionist.