The overuse of antimicrobials leads to the development of bacterial resistance and makes patients susceptible to Clostridium difficile and other serious infections, yet many hospitalized patients continue to receive antimicrobials that are inappropriate or unnecessary.1 In a new study in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Fridkin and colleagues,2 using administrative data from 323 hospitals in the United States, found that 55.7% of inpatients received antimicrobials. Furthermore, using data from the Emerging Infections Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and applying objective criteria for “potential improvement” in antimicrobial use at 36 hospitals, they report opportunities for improvement in the use of these medications in 37% of patients receiving vancomycin or treatment for urinary tract infection (UTI). It is disheartening that despite years of work, little progress has been made.3 In fact, Alexander Fleming warned against the overuse of penicillin in 1945.4 Nearly 70 years later, however, his call is being repeated. Why?
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