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General Information

Antibiotic resistance has become one of the major threats to health in the United States, threatening the ability of healthcare providers to fight infectious diseases.  Appropriate use of antibiotics is the main way to address this threat.  Healthcare providers, healthcare administrators, policy makers, and the general public will all need to be involved.  Antibiotics are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs; however, up to 50 percent of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not the most effective as prescribed.

antibiotic resistance - national threat numbers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than two million people become ill each year with antibiotic-resistant infections and at least 23,000 die as a result. Many more die from other conditions that were made worse by an antibiotic-resistant infection.

The threat of antibiotic resistance is a subject of increasing concern for public health officials and medical providers in the United States and around the globe. On September 18, 2014, in response to this threat, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria and released the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. On March 27, 2015, the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria was released. This document outlines the steps for implementing the National Strategy and for addressing policy recommendations contained in a report to the President on combating antibiotic resistance.


The CDC launched the National Campaign for Appropriate Antibiotic Use in the Community in 1995. In 2003, this program was renamed Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work. This campaign aims to reduce the rate of antibiotic resistance by:  

  1. promoting adherence to appropriate prescribing guidelines among providers,
  2. decreasing demand for antibiotics among both healthy adults and parents of young children, and
  3. increasing adherence to prescribed antibiotics.

Ohio has been identified as a high antibiotic prescribing state.  In reviewing rates of antibiotic prescriptions written, Ohio is in the top third in the nation. 

Community Antibiotic Prescriptions by per 1,000 Population by State - map of US

ODH encourages local partners to make use of the available resources to educate the public as well as providers on the appropriate use of antibiotics.  Posters, brochures, fact sheets, trainings, treatment guidelines, webpage buttons and badges and media tools can be found on the CDC's Be Antibiotics Aware website.

To learn more about the threat of antibiotic resistance, see the CDC's recently released report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019.

To learn which organisms are associated with antimicrobial resistance, visit the CDC’s website on diseases and pathogens associated with antimicrobial resistance.