Antibiotic (Antimicrobial) resistance is the ability of bacteria
to resist or overcome the effects of an antibiotic. The bacteria
survive, despite treatment, and continue to multiply and cause illness.
Infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to many drugs can be
difficult or even impossible to cure. Antibiotic resistant organisms can
cause illness which can lead to serious disability or even death. Over
the last decade, many types of bacteria have become less responsive to
Antibiotic resistance has been an increasing problem
worldwide, particularly in areas where antibiotics are misused or
inappropriately prescribed. Bacteria can become resistant when they
mutate or acquire the genes of other resistant bacteria. Antibiotics can
enhance bacterial resistance by killing susceptible bacteria and leaving
the resistant strains to spread and multiply.
A person with an infection that is resistant to
antibiotics can then pass that resistant infection to another person..
These antibiotic-resistant bacteria can spread to family members,
schoolmates, and co-workers. For this reason, antibiotic resistance is
among the top concerns for scientists and health care practitioners,
including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Antibiotic resistance can cause significant illness and
suffering even for common infections that were once easily treatable
Antibiotic resistant organisms
methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus
CRE - Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae
The best ways to prevent antibiotic resistant infections
Only use antibiotics when needed. Don't take an
antibiotic for a cold, cough or influenza. These illnesses, along
with most bronchitis and sore throats are viral and will not be
cured by an antibiotic. Antibiotics only work against bacteria, not
When prescribed, take the antibiotic exactly as
directed. Do not skip a dose, and complete the entire course, even
if you feel better. Not taking all of the prescribed antibiotics
could result in bacteria that survive and go on to re-infect and
possibly develop resistance.
Parents should ensure that their children take the
entire course of antibiotic, even after symptoms are gone.
Do not save antibiotics for later use. They may not
be as effective over time and different illnesses may need different
Do not take someone else's antibiotics. The
antibiotic may not work for your illness and may delay or interfere
with the correct treatment, prolonging the illness.
A patient or parent should not demand an antibiotic
when a health care provider has determined it is not necessary.
Information for health professionals
and Control guidelines (PDF, 92 KB) Antibiotic
Resistant Organisms (ARO) in Health Care Settings
Antibiotic Resistance Report - Invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae (PDF,
2006 WI Antibiotic Resistance Report - Invasive Streptococcus
pneumoniae (PDF, 67 KB)
Local Health Departments - Regional offices - Tribal agencies
Wisconsin Division of Public Health
Bureau of Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response
(Phone 608-261-6955) (Fax 608-261-4976)
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May 14, 2013