The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is fighting the over-use of antibiotics.
Fifty percent of all antibiotics are miss-prescribed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Maureen Tierney, DHHS head of the Healthcare-Associated Infections program, says they are pushing an effort to use the right antibiotic, for the right reason, for the right amount of time.
“Our perspective is: Let’s give the least-powerful antibiotic that we can give that actually treats the infection,” Tierney tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Dr. Tierney says resistance grows when antibiotics are given to mistakenly treat a virus.
“It’s a very significant concern,” she says. “That’s one of the reasons that the CDC has put a lot of funding behind this effort, and is supporting antibiotic stewardship in each health department around the country.”
Patients also need to do a better job of taking all of an antibiotic and following their doctor’s instructions.
The Healthcare-Associated Infections program is tracking resistance through a new registry with information from labs across the state.
“We can take a look at that and pick up clusters of resistant bacteria, often times even before a hospital,” Tierney says, “so that we can make sure that we can contain those more quickly than we’ve ever been able to before.”
The state’s antibiotic resistance database is updated daily.
Dr. Tierney says the best thing anyone can still do to fight infection is to wash their hands.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:38]