President Obama has declared war on antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to the CDC the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a serious public health issue. There are currently two million illnesses and 23,00 deaths in the US every year from these antibiotic superbugs.
Obama plans to double the amount of money allocated to this problem to $1.2 billion over a the course of five years, but the plan must still be approved by congress.
The hope is that by the year 2020 there will be a 50% reduction in unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions from doctor's offices and a 20% decrease at hospitals nationwide.
The plan will also introduce a "one health" approach for reporting "super bugs" nationally with a DNA database of the resistant bacteria.
The plane will also include money allocated for more research and development of vaccines.
"This is a lofty goal," said internist and Emory Associate Professor Dr. Sandra Fryhofer. "It's important for both patients and professionals to be on board." She went on to say "Some patients put a lot of pressure on doctors to give them an antibiotic, and they may think they're not getting good care if they're not given one. But that's just not true," said Fryhofer. "It's become like an insurance policy but it's an insurance policy that doesn't give good dividends."
Dr Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician in Atlanta asked "Who determines what's appropriate? Are we going to have a checklist of requirements that have to be met? I think it might be a bit tough to measure, but I think improvement can definitely happen."
"I do find there is a lot of education that has to go on with patients that might expect antibiotics when their child is sick," said Shu, "but I think in recent years I have seen more of an awareness, and many of my patients are more hesitant to ask."