Magazine article The Nation's Health

Antibiotic Resistance Linked to 2.8 Million Annual US Infections

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Antibiotic Resistance Linked to 2.8 Million Annual US Infections

Article excerpt

MORE PEOPLE in the U.S. are dying from antibiotic infections than previously thought, with one death happening every 15 minutes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the new data in November via its updated "Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States" report, finding that antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi cause more than 2.8 million U.S. infections and 35,000 deaths every year. The numbers mean that, on average, someone develops an antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds. The agency noted that when Clostridioides difficile --a bacterial infection not typically resistant to antibiotics but associated with antibiotic use--is included in the count, the toll tops 3 million infections and 48,000 deaths.

In all, the report, which for the first time used electronic health data from hospitals, documented nearly twice as many yearly antibiotic-resistant infections and deaths than CDC originally reported in 2013. However, the new report also found that prevention efforts have helped lower such deaths by 18% overall and by 30% within hospital settings.

"The 2013 report propelled the nation toward critical action and investments against antibiotic resistance," said CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, in a news release. "Today's report demonstrates notable progress, yet the threat is still real. Each of us has an important role in combating it. Lives here in the United States and around the world depend on it."

The CDC report focused on 18 antibiotic-resistant germs, including two new urgent threats: drug-resistant Candida auris, an emerging fungal infection, and carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter, a common bacterium found in soil and water. …

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