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California bill seeks to curb antibiotic resistance in nursing homes.

SACRAMENTO -- A bill to ensure the proper use of antibiotics in California nursing homes has been introduced in the State Legislature, following the recent disclosure that drugresistant bacteria may have infected as many as 179 patients at a Southern California medical center and is suspected in at least two deaths at the facility.

State Sen. Jerry Hill's SB 361 builds on other legislation he has introduced to combat antibiotic resistance and institute the proper use of antibiotics in nursing homes, which can serve as reservoirs of antibiotic resistance.

Last year, Hill authored firstinthenation bill to ensure that antibiotics are used appropriately in hospitals throughout the state. The governor signed Hill's SB 1311 into law last fall. In December 2014, Hill introduced SB 27, which ensures the appropriate use of antibiotics in livestock.

Hill's new bill, SB 361, requires California nursing homes to adhere to antibiotic stewardship guidelines to be developed by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) by July 1, 2016.

Antibiotic stewardship guidelines use various interventions to help improve antibiotic use. Interventions might include policies that deal with dose and duration of antibiotics, prior authorization by an antibiotic expert, and other measures.

SB 361 requires CDPH to consult with nursing home providers and infection control experts in the development of the guidelines.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 70 percent of nursing home residents nationwide receive an antibiotic every year and 27,000 residents acquire antibiotic resistant infections.

Studies suggest that between 25 to 75 percent of antibiotics prescribed in longterm care facilities may be inappropriate. Improper use of antibiotics can mean that antibiotics are sometimes prescribed when no infection is present or the wrong antibiotic may be given to treat a certain infection.

Antibiotics are the most important medical defenses against bacterial infections. But, as more antibiotics are used, misused, or overused, the more antibiotic resistance develops. A key step to reducing antibiotic resistance is to promote the judicious use of antibiotics.

The risks posed by antibiotic resistant infections are mounting. Just last week it was reported that a resistant bacteria strain, spread by medical equipment, was responsible for at least two deaths at a Southern California medical center.

The CDC estimates that at least 23,000 Americans are killed each year by antibiotic resistant infections. Worldwide, it's estimated that by 2050 more people will die from antibiotic resistant infections than from cancer.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Feb 27, 2015
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