Threat Report by CDC: 'Post-Antibiotic Era' on the Horizon


There's a serious and growing public health threat in this country. Chances are you didn't even know it. Well, at least not until today.

Federal health officials from The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a milestone report that gives the public a first-hand look at the rising threat of antibiotic resistance. The report is titled, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013.

"Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that most happen in the general community; however, most deaths related to antibiotic resistance happen in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes" (CDC, 2013).

"Drug-resistant infections could create $20 billion in excess direct costs, and $35 billion in lost productivity, every year" (Tufts University, 2013).

This was the first time that federal authorities spoke out about the effects of organisms that antibiotics are powerless to fight. The report goes on to give an in depth analysis of threats posed by antibiotic resistant germs, and what needs to be done in order to prevent its potential consequences that are considered both lethal and fatal to human health. It also discusses the role of how antibiotics are used in livestock.

According to staff attorney Mae Wu, of the Natural Resources Defense Council, "80% of the antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in animals."

The threats of antibiotic resistant germs are ranked into three categories: urgent, serious, and concerning.

Here is an overview of the three ranked categories given by Laura C. Pullen (Ph.D.) of

Urgent Threats - Includes carabapenen-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), drug-resistant gonorrhea, and Clostridium difficile (C difficile), which is a diarrheal infection that is associated with antibiotic use. CDC reports that C difficile causes 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

Serious Threats - Includes methicillin Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and nontyphoidal Salmonella infections. There are 80,000 serious MRSA infections each year in the U.S.

Concerning - Includes group A Streptococcus, referred to as "flesh-eating bacteria."

Antibiotic threats were assessed according to seven factors that are in association with resistant infections: clinical impact, economic, incidence, 10-year projection of incidence, transmissibility, availability of effective antibiotics, and barriers to prevention.

According to CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, "We believe that we have a four-part solution that will make a really big difference...It is not too late."

List of the four-part solution: Click the link to learn more about these solutions.

·         Preventing infections - Avoiding infections decreases the amount of antibiotics that need to be used. It reduces the chances that resistance will develop.

·       Tracking resistance patterns - The CDC gets data on the antibiotic-resistant infections, it's causes, and if there are risk factors that cause people to get a resistant infection. CDC develops ways to prevent infection and resistant bacteria from spreading based on data.

·         Practicing antibiotic stewardship - Alter the way antibiotics are used.

·         Developing new antibiotic and diagnostic test - Create new test to track the development of resistance.

Personally, I believe that the CDC did an awesome job of publishing the report. However, I find it hard to believe that this story failed to be featured on the front pages of some of the country's most popular news media outlets. I wonder why that is. There's not much being said about this in the news unless you do some research on it yourself. This is major news and people should notified about the costly effects of antibiotics because it's something that it used on a daily basis by many.

To get a full in depth analysis of the CDC's report, click these links:



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