Reducing antibiotic overuse: a call for a national performance measure for not treating asymptomatic bacteriuria

Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Nov 15;45(10):1335-7. doi: 10.1086/522183. Epub 2007 Oct 8.


Positive urinary tract culture results often represent asymptomatic bacteriuria, which does not need to be treated with antimicrobial agents. Avoiding treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria in adults should reduce the risk of development of antibiotic resistance and is consistent with the Infectious Diseases Society of America and US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines on bacteriuria. A similar approach for not treating upper respiratory illnesses with antibiotics was initiated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We propose that a hospital and ambulatory performance measure should be developed for not treating asymptomatic bacteriuria in adults. In addition, such an effort would aid hospitals in confronting the proposal of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (to be implemented in 2009) to not pay the expenses associated with catheter-associated urinary tract infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteriuria / drug therapy*
  • Drug Utilization
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents