Government Takes Action to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog
Steve Solomon, MD
Steve Solomon, MD

Author – Steve Solomon, MD
Director of the Office of Antimicrobial Resistance,
Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion,
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases,
Office of Infectious Diseases, CDC.

Antimicrobial resistance is a world-wide problem and increases the difficulty of treating a variety of infections. Each day, every year in the United States, millions of Americans face a major threat from infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Studies to obtain precise estimates for all types of resistant infections is are ongoing, but we do know that every year, almost 90,000 people become ill with serious infections caused by one of these resistant bacteria—methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA. Of these people, over 15,000 die.

Tremendously effective strategies have been developed to prevent infections, especially those likely to be caused by resistant bacteria. Readers of this blog are very familiar with the wide range of evidence-based, proven-effective interventions that reduce the incidence of infections and prevent the transmission of dangerous pathogens between people, especially hospitalized patients who are most at risk.

But a critical strategy for preventing the development of drug resistance in bacteria is to use antibiotics carefully and judiciously. Scientists have known for 70 years, since the first antibiotics were introduced, that the more antibiotics are used, the quicker bacteria develop the mechanisms to become resistant to them. Studies have shown that as much as 50% of all antibiotics used in the United States may not be used in the best and most effective way. In many cases, the antibiotic was not needed at all.

November 14 – 20 marks Get Smart about Antibiotics Week in the U.S. to increase awareness and understanding of the problem of antibiotic resistant infections and the role of unnecessary antibiotic use in leading to these serious and sometimes fatal infections. Get Smart about Antibiotics Week coincides with activities in many other countries around the world to bring attention to this global problem.

On November 15, the Federal Government’s Interagency Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance will meet to discuss progress toward addressing this problem. The Task Force has recently published A Public Health Action Plan to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance [PDF – 345 KB] a revised and updated version of the U.S. government’s national strategy for preventing infection, illness and death from antimicrobial resistance. The action plan highlights federal priorities in many key areas to combat antimicrobial resistance, including strategies to improve antibiotic use led by CDC.

I urge all of you to get involved in addressing this problem.

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

8 comments on “Government Takes Action to Combat Antibiotic Resistance”

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    I am seeking a substantive answer to the colloidal silver controversy.
    Members of my family and I have had endless conversations (most of them heavily weighted to the silver side) regarding the true efficacy of using silver as a panacea to cure everything from colds to cancer.
    My son and his wife refuse to vaccinate their daughter (8 years old) claiming that if she gets sick silver will do the job … regardless of what the illness is (Polio, Meningitis, Smallpox, et al)…. they use the MMR as their ‘go to’ proof!
    My belief is that ALL vaccines are NOT evil especially the ones mentioned above.
    I have no problems with applying it topically when one has a wound but to believe it to be a panacea for ALL diseases, to my mind is folly.
    The life and health of a lovely little girl is literally at stake here & I find those entrusted with her care remiss in making decisions based upon factual information.
    Are you able to direct me to empirical studies on Colloidal Silver, so I may pass them on to my family?

    I acknowledge there has potentially NEVER been an HAI caused specifically by microbes from a hospital patient room wall surface, however, doesn’t it make sense that open textures and seams often harbor moisture and in fact, microbes? Would you agree a wall surface free of texture and open seams would support the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that could ultimately be the causative agent of an HAI. Would you agree a design that makes it easier and more efficioent to clean a patient room would save labor time, and operational dollars? Would a textureless, seamless design be of any help in reducing even one HAI per hospital, per year?
    Thank you.

    The use of antibiotics has not been effectively addresed in the developing world. Such that if a certain disease causing bacteria develops resistant, it is easy for the same to spraed to the entire world as the world has now become a global village due to advancement in technolodge. My view is that ,it should be made aglobal campain the proper use of antbiotics especially in rural developing countries where people do seif medication.

    Medical staff are not washing their hands. They think the alcohol foams and gels are enough. No gloves. No hand washing. Just maybe the quick fixes.

    My son 32 years old just passed away in Aug, due to MRSA, he had a biopsy a few weeks earlier, he was in the hospital 12 days but the MRSA took over his body, we still cannot believe this has happened this day and time with all of the meds they have, guess I will always wonder why!

    Understanding that antibiotics have limitations and are prone to A) making diseases become drug resistant, and B)may give adverse reactions to some people and C) obtained via multiple pathways such as milk, meat, chicken and farmed fish via supplemental feed AND direct administration, I find it incredibly hard to understand WHY the FDA continues to insist that Colloidal Silver is not a viable option for many illnesses currently ” requiring” antibiotic intervention.
    The FDA itself grants multiple patents annually to pharmaceutical corporations for nano silver technology, yet promotes colloidal silver as ” dangerous” to the public when in fact the OPPOSITE is true. Instead of using tax dollars to continue to discuss over-use and mis-use of antibiotics ( I assume here we speak of general misuse, ie: doctors and FDA, USDA etc) why not re appropriate those funds into educating the medical profession AND the public concerning the proper use of colloidal silver and stop criminalizing an alternative that kills multiple strains of bacteria AND viruses WITHOUT complications to patients as well as costing a fraction of the price of antibiotics! I remain confounded by the FDA’s chosen stance on this issue, despite empirical evidence to the contrary of govt stated information and concerns regarding the use of Colloidal Silver. I state that I have no conflicts of interest regarding colloidal silver or public use thereof, other than a deep desire to see Truth prevail, not special interests domination.

    Is the fact that antibiotics are used in animal feed as a preventive therapy addressed at all? Isn’t that a danger to us as well as inappropriate use in humans?
    How will it be established whether someone needs antibiotics or not? In my experience, no one cultures sputum, but assumptions are just made that upper respiratory infections are viral. I can spike a fever of 102 degrees and then my body will be able to control the fever reaction but yet still not be able to shake the infection. I’ve had trouble getting treated because of that. One time it took me 6 months to get over a “viral” (untreated) URI.

    Unfortunately, the problem has more than one key area that needs to be addressed. Starting with physicians who need to learn to look at alternatives and also use the word “no”. Physicians can’t take total blame, the public expects something for every doctor visit, and since doctors can no longer afford long drawn out confrontations/visits, the public expects a little pill to compensate for the lost direct care time. Adding the biggest impact is the drug companies, who bombard everyone with advertising about how to treat all the different problems with the “little pills”. Scientists may have known for 70 yrs about the problem, but apparently don’t understand the impact of not trying hard enough to educate everyone to the problems involved with over-use of antibiotics. The circle is certainly viscious. Taking the time to educate is now of utmost importance. We have several significant diseases such as HIV/Aids, various cancers, addictions and so on that get tens of millions of dollars in research and education, but these antibiotic resistant strands of infectious diseases are our most dangerous disease known to man because of the simplicity of delivery into a human being. A person can survive, many years with these high profile diseases, but throw in one antibiotic resistant infection such as MRSA, VRE, ESBL and so on, and the game changes significantly.

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Page last reviewed: November 18, 2016
Page last updated: November 18, 2016