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Diseases & Topics

Antibiotic Resistance & Appropriate Antibiotic Use

Did You Know?

  • Antibiotic resistance is a major public health threat.
  • Antibiotics are the most important tool we have to combat many life-threatening bacterial diseases.
  • Increased antibiotic resistance is compromising the effectiveness of antibiotics.
  • Patients, healthcare providers, hospital administrators, and policy makers must work together to employ effective strategies for improving appropriate antibiotic use – ultimately saving lives.

Antimicrobial resistance is a substantial threat to public health in the United States. Overuse of antibiotics is a major reason for the current crisis in antimicrobial resistance. For example, approximately 50 percent of upper respiratory tract infections and 80 percent of acute bronchitis are treated with antibiotics, although antibiotics – designed to kill bacteria – have little impact on these predominantly viral illnesses. This has contributed to the alarmingly rapid rise in antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in North Carolina and throughout the U.S.

Antimicrobial resistance is also a growing problem in long-term care facilities and in hospitals, particularly in intensive care units. Infections caused by drug-resistant microbes result in increased illness and deaths, longer hospital stays, and higher health care expenditures.

Appropriate antibiotic use can prevent or slow the emergence of resistance, prevent illnesses and deaths, and reduce healthcare costs.

For Additional Information