A new Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013 report issued by the CDC explains the burden and threats posed by antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health. 

The CDC estimates that in the United States, more than two million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections, with at least 23,000 dying as a result.

The report ranks the threats in three categories: urgent, serious, and concerning.

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The classification was assessed according to seven factors associated with resistant infections:

  • Health impact
  • Economic impact
  • How common the infection is
  • 10-year projection of how common it could become
  • How easily it spreads
  • Availability of effective antibiotics
  • Barriers to prevention

Urgent infections include carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), drug-resistant gonorrhea, and Clostridium difficile. Serious infections include multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter, drug-resistant Campylobacter, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE). Concerning infections include vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA), erythromycin-resistant Group A Streptococcus, and clindamycin-resistant Group B Streptococcus.

C. difficile, although not significantly resistant to the drugs used to treat it, causes about 250,000 hospitalizations and at least 14,000 deaths every year in the United States. The bacteria spreads rapidly because it is naturally resistant to many drugs used to treat other infections.

In response to this serious health threat, the CDC has identified four core actions to combat resistance:

  • Preventing infections, preventing the spread of resistance: Immunization, infection prevention actions in healthcare settings, and general hand washing prevents infections and reduces the amount of antibiotics that need to be used.
  • Tracking: Experts can use information gathered from the CDC to develop strategies to prevent the resistant bacteria from spreading.
  • Improving antibiotic use/stewardship: Antibiotics need to be used appropriately, only when they are needed to treat disease.
  • Developing drugs and diagnostic tests: New antibiotics as well as tests will be needed to keep up with resistant bacteria.

For more information call (888) 232-6348 or read the full CDC report