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Annu Rev Public Health. 2007;28:435-47.

Community factors in the development of antibiotic resistance.

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School of Nursing, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


The global impact of antibiotic resistance is potentially devastating, threatening to set back progress against certain infectious diseases to the pre-antibiotic era. Although most antibiotic-resistant bacteria originally emerged in hospitals, drug-resistant strains are becoming more common in the community. Factors that facilitate the development of resistance within the community can be categorized as behavioral or environmental/policy. Behavioral factors include inappropriate use of antibiotics and ineffective infection control and hygiene practices. Environmental/policy factors include the continued use of antibiotics in agriculture and the lack of new drug development. A multifaceted approach that includes behavioral strategies in the community and the political will to make difficult regulatory decisions will help to minimize the problem of antimicrobial resistance globally.

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