Alexandria --- Antibiotics do not cure colds. Unfortunately, prescribing antibiotic drugs for common viral infections or not finishing all of the medication leads to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria within the body, increasing the number of bacterial infections that are harder to treat because these “supergerms” are present.

Federal, state and local health officials are hosting a community forum Oct.1 to discuss problems that occur with antibiotics overuse. This issue has become a hot topic in public health recently and is part of a national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campaign titled “ Get Smart --- Know When Antibiotics Work.”

For more information on the “Get Smart --- Know When Antibiotics Work” campaign, go to    

State Epidemiologist Dr. Raoult Ratard will speak at the community forum, along with Dr. John Naponick, Office of Public Health medical director for the Alexandria region, and Pat Cook, the CDC’s campaign director. Other health officials also will speak at the forum.

Speakers at the presentation will explain how community members can tell when antibiotic drugs are necessary and will answer any questions audience members have to help clarify some common myths and misconceptions about antibiotics.

WHAT: “Get Smart --- Know When Antibiotics Work” public forum

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct. 1, 6 p.m.

WHERE: Regional Office of Public Health --- Conference Room
                 5604B Coliseum Blvd. Alexandria, La. 71303

SPEAKERS:: Dr. Raoult Ratard, state epidemiologist
                        Dr. John Naponick, OPH regional medical director
                        Pat Cook, CDC national campaign director
                        Dr. Catrin Jones-Nazar, Louisiana Antibiotic Resistance campaign program coordinator
                        Dr. Francis Brian, senior vice president of Medical Affairs, Rapides Regional Medical Center
                        Ken Boudreaux, pharmacy clinical manager, Rapides Regional Medical Center
                        Cindy Griffin, Rapides Parish Health Unit nurse

CDC Background

Antimicrobial resistance among respiratory pathogens has become a common clinical problem and the association of resistance with the use of antimicrobial drugs has been documented in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  In response to these increasing resistance and prescribing rates, CDC launched the Campaign for Appropriate Antibiotic Use in the Community in 1995. This program was renamed Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work inconjunction with the launch of our national media campaign in September of2003. This campaign aims to reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance by promoting adherence to appropriate prescribing guidelines among providers, decreasing demand for antibiotics for viral upper respiratory infections among healthy adults and parents of young children, and increasing adherence to prescribed antibiotics for upper respiratory infections. 

Campaign Activities and Accomplishments
After more than a decade of alarming increases, overall antibiotic use for children and adolescents has finally decreased.  Between 1989-1990 and 1999-2000, office-based prescribing to children and adolescents in doctors' offices decreased by 40%.  CDC's efforts appear to have contributed to these recent decreases in prescribing rates.

CDC distributes federal funds to state and local health departments for the development, implementation and evaluation of local campaigns to promote appropriate antibiotic use. Beginning in 2000 with only 8 sites, CDC increased the number of funded sites to 28 in 2003. We hope to fund all 50 states by 2005. 

CDC has developed a national media campaign in partnership with the FDA to provide a coordinated message on appropriate antibiotic use and create a foundation for local efforts across the country. Using the tagline "Get Smart:  Know When Antibiotics Work," the campaign was launched on September 17, 2003 and is being disseminated through print, television, radio and outdoor media.  Additional partners in this campaign include:  American

Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, and Council for Affordable and Quality Healthcare.  The campaign has already received over 145 broadcast television hits and coverage in numerous national and local newspapers. The campaign was granted $50,000 along with a merit award at CDC/ATSDR's Health Education Day last year and will use this funding towards the development of Spanish language materials to be used in conjunction with the media campaign. 

Other accomplishments include the development of an appropriate antibiotic use curriculum for medical students.  The curriculum received very positive feedback during pilot testing and will be released in medical schools next year. We recently received funding to develop a similar curriculum for medical residents.  Finally, CDC and the National Committee on Quality Assurance developed two new measures for the Health Plan Employer Data and

Information Set (HEDIS(r)), the performance measurement tool used by over 90percent of the nation's health plans. The new measures, which will be part of HEDIS in 2004, assess the appropriate treatment of children with pharyngitis and with upper respiratory infections.