CONTACT: JENNIFER CRONIN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-5661; fax (319) 335-9917
University Hygienic Laboratory director to testify before U.S. Senate
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Mary J.R. Gilchrist, Ph.D., director of the University
of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory, is expected to testify Thursday before the
U.S. Senate Public Health Subcommittee on the problem of antibiotic resistant
Specifically, Gilchrist plans to talk about the antibiotic resistant
tracking programs in place and the various information systems that laboratories
are using. She also will discuss the success of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases Program and will
advocate for continued and increased funding of that initiative.
"It's important to interpret what's happening out there to the
people who make the decisions," Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist's testimony coincides with the release of the General Accounting
Office's report on "Emerging infectious diseases: Consensus on how
needed laboratory capabilities could strengthen surveillance."
The issue of antibiotic resistant bacteria is an important one. Many
bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics, and the emergence of
a "superbug" resistant to all treatments is a real possibility
in the future unless public health professionals, the government and the
public take corrective steps soon.
The University Hygienic Laboratory, Iowa's environmental and public
health laboratory, is involved in the Iowa Antibiotic Resistance Task Force,
along with the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the Iowa Department of Public
Health. These three units are attempting to address the antibiotic resistance
issue in Iowa.
Another statewide initiative looking at the problem is the five-year,
UI-based study titled "Emerging Infections and the Epidemiology of
Iowa Organisms: A Prospective, Statewide, Longitudinal Surveillance Study
of Antimicrobial Resistance." The goal of the project, which began
last July, is to determine the magnitude and scope of antibiotic resistance
in Iowa, measure the phenomenon's change over the long term, identify appropriate
solutions to combat the resistance and then implement those solutions.