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Antimicrobial Stewardship

What is antimicrobial stewardship?

Antimicrobial stewardship is a critical approach to combating the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance - a global challenge that affects health care outcomes and patient safety. It involves a coordinated effort by health care professionals, patients, and policymakers to promote the appropriate use of antimicrobials to ensure optimal patient outcomes, while minimizing the development of antimicrobial resistance.

What is antimicrobial resistance and how does it occur?

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when microorganisms evolve to withstand the effects of antimicrobial medications that were once effective against them. When antibiotics are used inappropriately or unnecessarily, bacteria can develop resistance mechanisms, rendering these medications less effective or even ineffective in treating infections. The emergence and spread of resistant pathogens pose a significant threat to public health, including prolonged illnesses, treatment failures, increased health care costs and, in severe cases, deaths. In the United States, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result.

How can antimicrobial resistance be prevented?

For Patients

Patients and the general public can play a crucial role in preventing antimicrobial resistance by educating themselves on the appropriate use of antibiotics, following prescriptions as directed, avoiding self-medication, practicing good hygiene, and engaging in shared decision-making with their healthcare professionals regarding symptoms and concerns.

For Providers

Health care professionals can utilize this website’s resources to implement evidence-based practices and guidelines that promote responsible antimicrobial use in their specific setting. By adhering to the principles of antimicrobial stewardship, you can reduce inappropriate prescribing, improve patient outcomes, and combat antimicrobial resistance effectively.

IDPH Antimicrobial Stewardship Efforts

Setting-Specific Resources