Antimicrobial Stewardship

At Wake Forest Baptist Health, our specialists in infectious diseases provide hospital-based programs to prevent and control antimicrobial resistance and hospital-acquired infections in the Medical Center.

Antimicrobial Stewardship

The administration and medical staff of Wake Forest Baptist are committed to the principles of sound antimicrobial use both in the inpatient and outpatient communities.

Antimicrobial resistance, or drug resistance, is a substantial threat to public health in the United States.

Part of the issue is that many physicians prescribe antimicrobials improperly or in cases when they aren’t really necessary. This happens in both the inpatient and the outpatient setting.

For example, about 50 percent of patients with upper respiratory tract infections and 80 percent of patients with acute bronchitis are given antibiotics for treatment. However, there is evidence that antibiotics actually have very little impact on these illnesses, because they are usually caused by a virus, not a bacterial infection.

The overuse of antibiotics contributes to the rise in antibiotic-resistant diseases – such as Streptococcus pneumoniae.

We are seeing this resistance with other diseases as well. In hospitals and in long-term care facilities, antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are responsible for infections in increasing numbers of patients, particularly in intensive care units.

Infections due to these pathogens can be very dangerous – patients often have to stay in the hospital for longer periods of time and the number of patients who die from these infections is increasing.

Our doctors and staff at Wake Forest Baptist are committed to reducing, and in some cases preventing, antimicrobial-resistance. One way we are doing this is being more careful and selective in how we use and prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics.