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COVID-19: An Emerging Threat to Antibiotic Stewardship in the Emergency Department

  • Author(s): Pulia, Michael S.
  • Wolf, Ian
  • Schulz, Lucas T.
  • Pop-Vicas, Aurora
  • Schwei, Rebecca J.
  • Lindenauer, Peter K.
  • et al.
Abstract

While current research efforts focus primarily on identifying patient level interventions that mitigate the direct impact of COVID-19, it is important to consider the collateral effects of COVID-19 on antimicrobial resistance. Early reports suggest high rates of antibiotic utilization in COVID-19 patients despite their lack of direct activity against viral pathogens. The ongoing pandemic is exacerbating known barriers to optimal antibiotic stewardship in the ED, representing an additional direct threat to patient safety and public health. There is an urgent need for research analyzing overall and COVID-19 specific antibiotic prescribing trends in the ED. Optimizing ED stewardship during COVID-19 will likely require a combination of traditional stewardship approaches (e.g. academic detailing, provider education, care pathways) and effective implementation of host response biomarkers and rapid COVID-19 diagnostics. Antibiotic stewardship interventions with demonstrated efficacy in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on ED prescribing should be widely disseminated and inform the ongoing pandemic response.

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