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Committee urges greater management of antimicrobials

A new congressionally mandated report recommends ways to hold nursing homes, dialysis centers, and long-term care hospitals accountable for appropriate use of antimicrobials.

The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, is in response to an effort to combat antimicrobial resistance, which kills about 36,000 people every year in the United States. WSU Regents Professor of Pathology and Infectious Diseases Guy Palmer serves as chair of the national committee.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms such as fungi, parasites, and bacteria become immune to the medicines used to treat them. The overuse and misuse of antimicrobial medicines contributes to this problem.

As potential hotspots for the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance, the report recommends these care facilities require antimicrobial stewardship programs.

“Numerous medical procedures — organ transplants, joint replacements, cancer treatment, and even safe childbirth — rely on effective antibiotics to prevent and treat infections in people’s most vulnerable moments. If we don’t make antimicrobial resistance a public health priority, we risk setting back gains in modern medicine,” said Palmer, who also is the founding director of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health.

The report also recommends policymakers consider the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health — a One Health perspective.

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