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California One of Five States with Lowest Antibiotic Use in Nation

Researchers found significant regional variation and trends in antibiotic use between 1999-2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Research revealed during "Get Smart Week" shows that California joined Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington as the five states with the lowest antibiotic use in the nation in 2010. "Get Smart Week" is a national partnership launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics. The five states with the highest rates of antibiotic use in the nation that year were Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Much of the decrease in California can be attributed to the statewide campaign launched by the California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation in 2000. Together with over 80 organizations and hundreds of active volunteers, the Foundation's Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education (AWARE) has grown to be the largest, most collaborative project of its kind in the nation.

"The results of education campaigns like the Get Smart/AWARE program in California have had a tremendous impact on the decreased use of antibiotics," said Dean Blumberg, M.D., Associate Professor, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, UC Davis. "Since 1999, the percentage of antibiotic prescriptions filled nationwide had dropped by 17 percent.  While this is a phenomenal achievement, we must be vigilant about education so that the regions of the country which are disproportionally prescribing antibiotics for viral infections can also see a decrease."

The research done by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy shows that residents of Appalachian and Gulf Coast states, where antibiotics use rates are the highest, take about twice as many antibiotics per capita as people living in Western States.

"At its inception over a decade ago, the AWARE campaign intended to increase appropriate prescribing of antibiotics and raise consumer awareness regarding the appropriate use of antibiotics," said Carol A. Lee, president and CEO of the CMA Foundation. "Our program in California has received numerous awards for the work that we've done, and to see that we've successfully reduced the overuse of antibiotics here is a testament to our coalition's hard work."

Dozens of groups across California have joined the AWARE program, including consumer groups, health plans, hospitals and physician organizations.  A full list of coalition partners can be found here.

For more information about the AWARE campaign, please visit the CMA Foundation's AWARE website.

SOURCE California Medical Association

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