Simple coordination between hospitals, nursing homes and health authorities could slash the number of drug-resistant "superbug" infections and save thousands of lives, experts say.
Hospitals and nursing homes strive to control infections but rarely report to one another when a patient being transferred is carrying antibiotic-resistant bacteria, said a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
This greatly increases the risk of spreading infections, the report says.
"Antibiotic-resistant infections in health care settings are a growing threat in the United States, killing thousands and thousands of people each year," said CDC Director Tom Frieden.
"We can dramatically reduce these infections if health care facilities, nursing homes, and public health departments work together to improve antibiotic use and infection control so patients are protected."
Antibiotic-resistant germs cause more than two million illnesses and at least 23,000 deaths a year in the US. With better coordination, potentially deadly infections could be reduced by 70 percent and 37,000 lives saved over five years, the CDC says.