UW Health doctors warn of bacteria’s growing resistance to antibiotics

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Courtesy: UW Health

MADISON, Wis. — The bacteria that cause illnesses like strep throat and ear infections is becoming more resistant to the drugs used to it, UW Health doctors warned Monday.

Doctors tend to use antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin to fight bacteria, however, over time those drugs become less effective or even ineffective as the bacteria develop resistance. This antimicrobial resistance led to over 1.2 million deaths worldwide in 2019 alone.

“Antibiotics are powerful tools to cure deadly diseases,” Dr. Michael Pulia, director of the Emergency Care for Infectious Diseases research program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, said. “But we have to manage their use carefully or they will no longer remain the life-saving treatments that we rely on.”

Pulia is part of a team working to research antimicrobial stewardship to keep drugs effective. The group focuses on five steps when prescribing antibiotics: diagnosis, drug, dose, duration and de-escalation. The goal is to make sure that antibiotics are only prescribed when they need to be.