Infection Control: Are Drug-Resistant Infections Worse Than We Realize?

Infection control in healthcare settings is imperative amidst shocking drug-resistant statistics.

A recent Reuters investigative report has shed light on some rather frightening statistics; drug-resistant infections are to blame for more deaths than what is actually documented.

According to the article, states that track drug-resistant infections as a cause of death are reporting much lower rates than what Reuters has found; from 2003 to 2014, there were approximately 3,300 deaths from drug-resistant infections, however analysis from Reuters puts the number somewhere around 180,000 for the same time period.

The reason for the disparity is rather unsettling; it seems hospitals don’t always document a drug-resistant infection as a cause of death on death certificates. In addition, some states don’t require reporting of “superbug” deaths.

While it may be a classification issue – meaning reporting superbug infections as a contributing factor and not a cause – it is still a startling finding. It brings to light just how important infection control is in a healthcare setting, because clearly the statistics aren’t as low as we have been led to believe.

Infection control programs help identify and reduce the risk of infection in patients and healthcare workers. Healthcare facilities and other institutions that deal with hazardous or medical waste must make it a top priority to prevent the spread of infection.

Conversely, the CDC says that while the U.S. is doing a better job of controlling superbug infections, more has to be done in order to combat drug-resistant related deaths.

“New data show that far too many patients are getting infected with dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria in healthcare settings,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H in a report from the CDC. “Doctors and healthcare facilities have the power to protect patients – no one should get sick while trying to get well.”

The CDC also says that infection control is achieved through three major points:

  • Prevent the spread of bacteria between patients;
  • Prevent infections related to surgery and/or placement of a catheter; and
  • Improve antibiotic use through stewardship

The discrepancies in statistics reporting are alarming to say the least, but awareness, diligence, and control are the foundation upon which these numbers can be greatly reduced.

Infection control isn’t just about preventing the spread of illness between patients and staff; it’s a big step in stopping the wider community from being affected by potential outbreaks.

MedXwaste can help your facility design and implement a safety program with our online OSHA Compliance Training Program. We also offer equipment designed to keep your office and staff safe.


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