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July 13, 1970

Antibiotic Usage in Seven Community Hospitals

Author Affiliations

From the Bacterial Diseases Branch, Epidemiology Program, National Communicable Disease Center, Atlanta.

JAMA. 1970;213(2):264-267. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170280024004

Between November 1967 and June 1969,24 prevalence studies of nosocomial infections and antibiotic usage were completed in seven community hospitals. Medical records of 5,256 patients were reviewed; 30.6% were receiving antibiotics, and 80% of those were receiving a single agent. Penicillin, ampicillin, and tetracycline use was similar, and these three accounted for about half of the antibiotics given. From January 1968 through June 1969, chloramphenicol use declined sharply; ampicillin and cephalosporin use increased. Antibiotics were used most frequently on the pediatric and surgical services. They were most frequently used without clearly recorded evidence of infection on the surgical services. Fewer than 30% of patients receiving penicillin, sulfonamides, and streptomycin had recorded evidence of infection when the antibiotic was first given; only 38% of 454 patients receiving antibiotics in 1969 had such evidence.