Antibiotic Resistance: Urgent Health Threat Jeopardizing Modern MedicinePosted on by
Antibiotic resistance, the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of drugs, is perhaps the single most important infectious disease threat of our time. Although some people are at greater risk than others, no one can completely avoid the risk of antibiotic-resistant infections. These infections affect real people and they can be horrible for patients. Infections with resistant organisms are difficult to treat, requiring costly and sometimes toxic alternatives. Resistant infections account for at least $20 billion in excess direct healthcare costs and up to $35 billion in lost productivity due to hospitalizations and sick days each year.
Every year, more than two million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die as a result. Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a serious diarrheal infection usually associated with antibiotic use, causes about 250,000 hospitalizations and at least 14,000 deaths every year in the United States.
CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative is a comprehensive approach that fully implements CDC’s portions of the National Action Plan for combating resistance. The overall fiscal year 2016 budget proposes a historic investment to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria to protect public health. The proposed $264 million for CDC, part of the broader national strategy, would facilitate action in every state, accelerate outbreak detection and prevention innovation, and improve antibiotic use and reduce antibiotic resistance.
CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Solutions Initiative [PDF – 862 KB] proposes additional efforts in a variety of areas, including:
- Detect Network of AR Regional Labs [PDF – 276 KB]
- State AR Prevention Programs (“Protect Programs”) [PDF – 370 KB]
- Foodborne Infections [PDF – 380 KB]
- Antibiotic Stewardship [PDF – 398 KB]
- Drug-resistant Gonorrhea [PDF – 406 KB]
- Drug-resistant Tuberculosis [PDF – 530 KB]
- Microbiome – infographic coming soon
The FY16 budget also supports a $14 million increase for the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) [PDF – 335 KB]— the nation’s leading system to track healthcare-associated infections, including antibiotic resistance and antibiotic use—as a companion to CDC’s FY16 Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative, supporting multiple goals under the National Strategy, including new activities to better understand and monitor sepsis, leading to enhanced prevention to save lives.
If we lose antibiotics, we also lose the ability to treat sepsis, cancer, provide organ transplants, and save victims of burns and trauma. Antibiotics and all they support will become obsolete. CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Solution Initiative provides an opportunity to respond now, while we wait for new drugs to be discovered and explored. Bacteria will inevitably find ways of resisting the antibiotics developed by humans, which is why aggressive action is always needed to keep new resistance from developing and to prevent the resistance that already exists from spreading.
To learn more about the CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative and view infographics on how the Initiative will fight drug resistance, visit CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance website.