New CDC guidelines target drug-resistant infections

The Centers for Disease Control has just released new guidelines designed to cut the spread of drug-resistant infections occurring within hospitals and other health facilities. According to the CDC, 2 million people acquire infections in hospitals each year, resulting in 90,000 deaths. In this case, the report focuses on multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) such as methicillin-resistant staphyllococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococci, which have not gotten as much attention as they should in other disease-control guidelines, the agency said.

The risks from such infections have grown dramatically in recent years, the CDC said. For example, only 2 percent of staph infections were drug resistant in 1972; 63 percent are resistant today. To fight MDROs, health facilities should shore up their efforts in several ways, including making sure prevention programs are well-funded, tracking infection rates to test the effectiveness of their control efforts and making sure staff members observe all infection-control protocols, the agency recommended. If first-line approaches don't work, the CDC said, hospitals and health facilities may need to institute more stringent methods, such as screening high-risk patients for MDROs and treating them accordingly.

To read more about the CDC's guidelines:
- see the agency's release
- review its report, "Management of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in Healthcare Settings" (.pdf)
- read the Wall Street Journal's coverage (sub. req.)

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