Cloud-Based Informatics Enable Smarter Antibiotic Use and Infection Control
Over the past few decades, overuse of antibiotics has contributed to the increasing development of antibiotic-resistant so-called “superbugs”— i.e., dangerous bacterial and fungal infections that are now responsible for more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the United States each year. Even amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in hospitalized patients is still a major risk, one that can actually be further exacerbated by COVID treatment. A recent U.S. multi-center study reported that 72% of COVID-19 patients received antibiotics even when not clinically indicated.
Most antibiotics are prescribed before or without knowing the pathogen and its susceptibility to antibiotics, and therein lies the crux of the matter. Before administering antibiotics, healthcare workers should be aware of what specific pathogen(s) they are treating because different bugs may respond differently to antibiotics, particularly if drug-resistant pathogens are encountered. Overuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics clearly drives the evolution of AMR and can lead to the development of drug-resistant infections in patients.
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