CDC Report Describes Antibiotic Resistance Threat

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CDC says antibiotic resistance is a quickly growing and dangerous problem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013, which presents a snapshot of the burden and threats posed by antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health, the CDC announced in a press release. According to the report, more than two million people in the US each year get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result.

The report assesses threats according to seven factors associated with resistant infections: health impact, economic impact, how common the infection is, a 10-year projection of how common it could become, how easily it spreads, availability of effective antibiotics, and barriers to prevention. Infections classified as urgent threats include carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), drug-resistant gonorrhea, and Clostridium difficile, a serious diarrheal infection usually associated with antibiotic use. C. difficile causes about 250,000 hospitalizations and at least 14,000 deaths every year in the United States.

“Antibiotic resistance is rising for many different pathogens that are threats to health,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “If we don’t act now, our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won’t have the antibiotics we need to save lives.”


To combat this serious health threat, CDC has identified four core actions crucial to halting resistance: preventing infections and preventing the spread of resistance, tracking, improving antibiotic use (i.e., stewardship), and developing new antibiotic drugs and diagnostic tests.