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Unnecessary Antibiotics and Spread of Clostridium difficile

Renewed concern about antibiotic overprescribing was recently shared by the CDC, based on an article in JAMA: "According to the [JAMA] article, at least 30 percent of antibiotics prescribed in U.S. outpatient settings are unnecessary. Many of these prescriptions are written for respiratory conditions including colds, viral sore throats, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections, none of which require antibiotics as a first line of treatment. Poor prescribing practices result in about 47 million excess prescriptions each year, putting patients needlessly at risk for allergic reactions, deadly diarrhea infection from Clostridium difficile, and other side effects.”  Read the abstract and access the original research article from JAMA: Prevalence of Inappropriate Antibiotic Prescriptions Among US Ambulatory Care Visits, 2010-2011 .

On the May 2 CDC Safe Healthcare Blog, CDC associate director for science L. Clifford McDonald, MD, talks about the bacteria that most often cause healthcare-associated infections – Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). There is increasing evidence that patients who carry C. difficile but who are not sick can still spread the germ and make other people sick.

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