A 30% reduction in the efficacy of antibiotics could increase infections and associated deaths for certain surgery and chemotherapy patients by 120,000 and 6,300 per year, respectively, according to a new study published online by The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The estimates are based on past controlled studies of the efficacy of antibiotics to prevent infections after 10 common surgical procedures and immunosuppressing cancer chemotherapies. “We can change the course of antibiotic resistance,” said study co-author Sumanth Gandra. “Antibiotic stewardship programs, improved hospital infection control, educating physicians and the public on proper use of antibiotics, widespread vaccination – all of these can make a difference in stopping dangerous infections.” The AHA’s Physician Leadership Forum last year released an antibiotic stewardship toolkit to help hospitals and health systems enhance their antimicrobial stewardship programs.

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