State

Ill. officials link antibiotics misuse, superbugs

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois health officials say most antibiotics prescribed in hospitals and nursing homes are unnecessary and their overuse has led to an increase in deadly superbugs.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says up to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed at hospitals are not needed or are otherwise inappropriate. At long-term care facilities the figure jumps to 75 percent.

That's causing the bacterial infections most commonly found in those settings to become more resistant to antibiotics.

The Health Department said Tuesday it is working with 18 hospitals in the state to set up an electronic system for reporting data on antibiotic use.

The agency also plans monthly webinars and a statewide meeting of health professionals to discuss the dangers of antibiotic misuse.

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