Half of All Antibiotic Provided in Doctor Offices Are Unnecessary

The above opinion is from the centres for Disease Control in Atlanta as reported in the American Medical News September 13th 1999 issue. According to the article, “about 100 million courses of antibiotics are provided by office-based doctors each year, and up to half are unnecessary.” The article specifically investigates one type of antibiotic resistant bacteria, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – MRSA for short. MRSA is becoming a very commonplace infection accounting for one-third of infections in hospitals and nursing homes.

The growth of MRSA is attributed to over utilization of antibiotics in general. Timothy Naimi, MD, MPH, a CDC medical epidemiologist with the Minnesota Dept. of Health, states it simply, “We very strongly believe that these [infections] are a byproduct of excessive and otherwise inappropriate use of antibiotics.” The article reports that most documented MRSA infections now are transmitted in hospitals, where resistant infections have risen from 2% in 1974 to approximately 50% in 1997.