CME: Pathogen-Directed Respiratory Infection Care

CME: Pathogen-Directed Respiratory Infection Care

Antimicrobial resistance poses a serious public health threat and is an especially challenging issue when treating respiratory infections. Research shows that the number of pneumonia cases caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria has risen substantially in recent years. These cases have been linked to higher mortality and morbidity, longer stays in intensive care, and increased costs due to inadequate therapy when compared with pneumonia caused by non-resistant pathogens. “We’re in the middle of an antimicrobial resistance crisis in the United States,” says Helen W. Boucher, MD, FACP, FIDSA. “One of the biggest contributors to this issue is the overuse of antibiotics. Some clinicians are treating infections too broadly and prescribing unwarranted antibiotics. Although many respiratory infections are caused by viruses, antibiotics are often prescribed inappropriately to treat these infections.”   The Challenge As with any infection, respiratory infections should be treated as narrowly as possible, according to Dr. Boucher, who co-authored a review article summarizing the current state of antimicrobial-resistant bacterial respiratory tract pathogens (Table) that was published in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. “The goal is to treat the exact pathogen that’s causing the infection, and nothing more. Treating beyond a specific pathogen can lead to overuse of antibiotics, resistance, and adverse effects for patients,” she says. Dr. Boucher says strong, accurate diagnostic testing is required in order to appropriately prescribe antibiotics. “For pneumonia,” she says, “there are several new tools that are highly accurate in diagnosing the pathogen causing the infection. This allows for appropriate, pathogen-directed therapy. Pathogen-directed therapy also includes recognizing if the bacterium is susceptible or resistant to certain antibiotics.” Even when these factors are known, targeting...
Pathogen-Directed Respiratory Infection Care

Pathogen-Directed Respiratory Infection Care

Antimicrobial resistance poses a serious public health threat and is an especially challenging issue when treating respiratory infections. Research shows that the number of pneumonia cases caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria has risen substantially in recent years. These cases have been linked to higher mortality and morbidity, longer stays in intensive care, and increased costs due to inadequate therapy when compared with pneumonia caused by non-resistant pathogens. “We’re in the middle of an antimicrobial resistance crisis in the United States,” says Helen W. Boucher, MD, FACP, FIDSA. “One of the biggest contributors to this issue is the overuse of antibiotics. Some clinicians are treating infections too broadly and prescribing unwarranted antibiotics. Although many respiratory infections are caused by viruses, antibiotics are often prescribed inappropriately to treat these infections.”   The Challenge As with any infection, respiratory infections should be treated as narrowly as possible, according to Dr. Boucher, who co-authored a review article summarizing the current state of antimicrobial-resistant bacterial respiratory tract pathogens (Table) that was published in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine. “The goal is to treat the exact pathogen that’s causing the infection, and nothing more. Treating beyond a specific pathogen can lead to overuse of antibiotics, resistance, and adverse effects for patients,” she says. Dr. Boucher says strong, accurate diagnostic testing is required in order to appropriately prescribe antibiotics. “For pneumonia,” she says, “there are several new tools that are highly accurate in diagnosing the pathogen causing the infection. This allows for appropriate, pathogen-directed therapy. Pathogen-directed therapy also includes recognizing if the bacterium is susceptible or resistant to certain antibiotics.” Even when these factors are known, targeting...