ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A local infectious disease specialist says it is sobering to hear how many Americans are receiving antibiotic-resistant illnesses each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the figure is two million and, in large part, is due to doctors over-prescribing antibiotics.
“From a doctor’s perspective, it’s really important that you establish a diagnosis of an actual bacterial infection, one that the antibiotics will be effective against,” Dr. Nirav Patel at Saint Louis University Hospital said. “When patients come in and ask for antibiotics and you think they may have a viral infection, antibiotics are not going to be effective and are just going to contribute to the problem.”
Patients, Patel says, need to take “no” for an answer from their doctor when an antibiotic is not prescribed.
Missouri is one of the states that has seen a high rate of antibiotic prescriptions, according to the CDC report.
“Antibiotics, when they’re used appropriately, are life-saving drugs but when they’re used inappropriately, that’s when we run into the problems,” Patel added.