NOV 13, 2019 5:19 PM PST

Antibiotic Resistance by the Numbers

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released its latest Antibiotic Threats in the United States report, which is summarized in the video below.

The report states that more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections—also known as “superbugs”—occur each year, just in the United States. Additionally, more than 35,000 people die as a result of these infections. According to the CDC, someone living in the United States contracts an antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds. Every 15 minutes, someone dies as a result of one of these superbug infections.

In the foreword of the report, CDC Director Robert Redfield states that the US must “stop referring to a coming post-antibiotic era—it’s already here.” He also says that the nation must “stop relying only on new antibiotics” and to adopt aggressive strategies now to keep infections from spreading. He also advises to “stop believing that antibiotic resistance is a problem ‘over there.’” Antibiotic resistance is a real threat that is currently occurring throughout the United States, in addition to the rest of the world.

While the number of infections is higher than the previous report in 2013, the CDC attributes some of the increase to new and better data sources. The report emphasizes that prevention efforts have decreased superbug-related deaths by 18% since 2013.

There are now 18 antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi of concern to human health, which are categorized as urgent, serious, and concerning. Urgent threats include Acinebacter, C. auris, C. diff, CRE, and drug-resistant gonorrhea. In 2017, infections from C. diff impacted 223,900 individuals and caused 12,800 deaths.

Although anyone can become infected with a superbug, those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk. Continued vigilance and aggressive action are highly recommended to prevent infections and the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs.

Sources: Antibiotic Threats in the United States, Reuters

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
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