Oregon's rate of unneeded prescribed antibiotics is among the Nation's lowest. Growing resistance to the drugs is a concern for physicians. The tendency of doctors not to prescribe antibiotics is part of a trend in other western states.
Physicians in the South, Northwest or Midwest U.S. prescribe antibiotics more often, but it's not clear why. Even though Oregon public health officials are seeing less resistance to bacteria, they are concerned about misuse. Doctor Anne Thomas works in the State's Public Health Division. She's concerned about the over prescription of broad spectrum antibiotics.
Thomas: "It covers a wide variety of bacteria, so not only does it knock out maybe some bacteria in your nose and throat, but it can also affect the ones in your gastrointestinal tract. So then you're talking about getting diarrhea or maybe getting a more serious infection that results from not having the proper bacteria in your gut."
Thomas says there's a growing concern in hospitals as bacteria evolves and adapts to antibiotic use. Age is also a component, as children are less likely to be prescribed broad spectrum antibiotics, compared to adults and the elderly.