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Inappropriate Antibiotic Use Can Lead To More Deaths

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The overuse of antibiotics is making them less effective. Nationwide, at least 2 million people get antibiotic-resistant infections. That’s according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. As Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray reports Nevada public health officials are developing strategies to stem this growing crisis.

The Nevada Public Health Training Center held its first summit to develop an action plan.

Dr. Trudy Larson is with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Community Health Sciences.

“We need to keep antibiotics available for us  to use when it’s really lifesaving," Larson explains. "And if we don’t have it available because of bacteria are resistant, we will begin to see deaths for infections that we’ve been able to treat for over forty years.”

Larson says bacteria can mutate quite quickly. That's why both doctor and patient education is required to ensure antibiotics are prescribed only when necessary.

“So what we really want to do is treat infections appropriately with the narrowest spectrum drug," Larson says, "which means the drug that’s particular for that bacteria."

The CDC reports more than 20 thousand people die each year as a result of antibiotic-resistant infections. 

Anh Gray is a former contributing editor at KUNR Public Radio.
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