Vt. Health Officials Aim To Stem Overuse Of Antibiotics

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Vermont health officials are stepping up efforts to combat the growing problem of drug-resistant illnesses.

Bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics is considered a global health crisis by the CDC and others. And now, the state health department has launched a new program to combat the overuse of the drugs.

Patsy Kelso is the State Epidemiologist for Infectious Disease. She says Vermont hasn’t seen many drug-resistant illnesses yet, but that doesn’t mean people here are immune.

"Vermont has one of the lowest antibiotic prescribing rates, and that’s a good thing," Kelso says. "But with some diseases, it’s just a matter of one individual getting on a plane and coming here."

Health officials in Vermont and other states are emphasizing a CDC educational program called "Get Smart" that aims to decrease antibiotic resistance.

It encourages doctors to make sure that antibiotics are necessary before prescribing them.

And it teaches patients to practice safe use – which includes taking the entire, prescribed course of antibiotics.

The program also discourages patients from expecting that there will be an antibiotic or pill for every illness they get.

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