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CDPH DIRECTOR URGES CALIFORNIANS TO GET SMART ABOUT ANTIBIOTICS

Posted Nov 16 2010 9:53am

As part of “ Get Smart About Antibiotics Week ,” California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director Dr. Mark Horton is reminding health care professionals and patients this week about the importance of proper antibiotic use. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections. They are often prescribed, yet do not work, for viral infections such as the flu or common cold.  Overuse of antibiotics can lead to severe antibiotic-resistant, life-threatening infections by “super bugs” that are more difficult to treat. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that half of all antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary or inappropriate.

"In the United States, antibiotic-resistant infections cause $20 billion in excess health care cost,” said Horton. “California has the nation’s only statewide initiative focused on the safe and effective use of antibiotics in hospitals.

“California Senate Bill 739 requires all acute care hospitals to develop a process for evaluating the use of antibiotics," Horton explained. "We're encouraging all health care facilities to implement similar practices that have been proven to improve patient care decrease the inappropriate use of antibiotics, decrease antibiotic resistance and save health care dollars.”

Horton added that people should not share unused prescription medicine with others and they should not save unused prescriptions for future illnesses.

November 15-21 is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week, a collaborative effort with CDC, CDPH and other professional organizations. The campaign’s goal is to educate consumers and health care providers about appropriate use of antibiotics.

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