The CDC says that drug-resistant bacteria cause 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths each year, which is why they decided to launch a new program that educates people on the issue. The program explains how antibiotics work and which common illnesses don’t require a prescription.
Researchers say that they’re closer to developing a blood test that distinguishes between a viral and bacterial respiratory infection. The test is a simple blood test that could be done at the doctor’s office and in just one hour you can find out if it’s a viral or bacterial infection. With this test, your doctor will know for sure if you actually need antibiotics, lowering the number of prescriptions. Currently, about 75% of patients are prescribed bacteria-fighting antibiotics for viral respiratory infections like colds, when they don’t need them.
The test is accurate about 87% of the time, which can reduce antibiotic use by about 40 to 50%. Researchers are optimistic about the new test and even though it’s not ready yet, they hope to make it affordable and accessible to those that need it.