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For Release:
November 16, 2010

Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP

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(609) 984-7160

Get Smart about Antibiotics


Antibiotic resistance is increasingly becoming one of the world’s most pressing public health concerns. To bring attention to this urgent health issue, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other government and community partners are observing “Get Smart About Antibiotics Week,” November 15-21, 2010 to prevent the over-prescription of antibiotics and to promote their appropriate use.


“The over-prescription of antibiotics is leading to drug-resistant disease causing bacteria that are very difficult to treat,” said Dr. Poonam Alaigh, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. “I am urging all medical professionals to only prescribe antibiotics when they are absolutely necessary.”


Recently, new drug-resistant causing bacteria or “Super Bugs” have been reported in more than 20 states.  These bacteria have developed an enzyme that makes them resistant to certain antibiotics. Physicians have found that only the most powerful drugs with potentially harmful side effects are proving effective against this new breed of bacteria.


As a result, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services encourages everyone to remember the following about antibiotics:

  • Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses.  The common cold and flu are caused by viruses. 
  • Prescribing antibiotics for these conditions won't help these conditions.
  • Antibiotics are strong medicines, but they don't cure everything.
  • When not used correctly, antibiotics can actually be harmful to your health.
  • Never share antibiotics prescribed for you with anyone else.
  • When you are sick, antibiotics are not always the answer.


Additionally, data from the CDC shows that:

  • Approximately 50 percent of antibiotics are unnecessarily prescribed or inappropriate.

·         More than $1.1 billion are spent annually on unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for respiratory infections in adults.

·         Antibiotic-resistant infections lead to worse outcomes for patients, including higher mortality.

For additional information about Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work or Get Smart for Healthcare, please visit the DHSS website or

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