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Wisconsin doctors part of the fight against antibiotic resistance

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Posted at 12:00 AM, Mar 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-29 12:32:22-04

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that antibiotic resistant bacteria, or superbugs, kill 23,000 Americans each year.

"We've been treating bacteria with antibiotics for years," said Brenda Ehlert, Northern Director of Infection Prevention at Ascension Wisconsin. "So...the antibiotics we used to give for certain infections, those bacteria became resistant to those antibiotics."

It's happening partly because of overuse.

"Statistics say that fifty percent of the antibiotics given to people are used either inappropriately or not even needed."

The CDC put out a national plan to combat antibacterial resistance a couple of years ago.

"A lot of action has been taken at the hospital level and at the national level trying to make sure we're using antibiotics appropriately," said Ehlert.

The concern is that all the antibiotics we have available could one day be ineffective.

"It is scary. And part of that national action plan is to promote development of new antibiotics, because we are scared in the health industry that we will run out of new antibiotics because not a lot of research going into developing new antibiotics and new ways to diagnose resistant bacteria."

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