All five Virtua Health hospitals have been recognized with the Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence Designation by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Institutions that receive this designation have created stewardship programs led by infectious diseases-trained physicians and pharmacists who advance science in fighting antimicrobial resistance, which is an urgent global health threat.
Antimicrobial resistance occurs when germs like bacteria develop the ability to resist the drugs designed to kill them. When germs are not eliminated and continue to grow, resistant infections can be difficult, or even impossible, to treat.
Antimicrobial resistance kills at least 1.27 million people worldwide. In the U.S., more than 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections occur each year, killing more than 35,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Drug-resistant bacteria can affect people at any age, which makes it one of the most serious public health issues in the world today,” Dr. Martin Topiel, Virtua’s chief of infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship, said. “Virtua is diligent in maintaining strict standards aligned with evidence-based national guidelines in addressing antimicrobial resistance in all of our hospitals.”
Resistance to even one antibiotic or antifungal medication is dangerous, because resistant infections require the use of other, additional treatments that can cause serious side effects. The ability to fight infections with antibiotics is crucial in the delivery of medical procedures, surgeries and the treatment of diseases. If antibiotics and antifungals lose their effectiveness, the medical community loses the ability to treat infections and control serious public health threats.