The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday released its updated Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States (AR Threats Report) indicating that antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the United States each year. That means, on average, someone in the United States gets an antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds and every 15 minutes someone dies. When Clostridioides difficile, a bacterium which is not typically resistant but can cause deadly diarrhea and is associated with antibiotic use, is added to these, the U.S. toll of all the threats in the report exceeds 3 million infections and 48,000 deaths.
Using data sources not previously available, the new report shows that there were nearly twice as many annual deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections as CDC originally reported in 2013. Since then, the new report shows, prevention efforts have reduced deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections by 18 percent overall and by nearly 30 percent in hospitals. Without continued vigilance, however, this progress may be challenged by the increasing burden of some infections.
CDC’s 2019 report thus establishes a new national baseline of infections and deaths from antibiotic-resistant germs. Moreover, the new report categorizes the top antibiotic-resistant threats based on level of concern to human health: urgent, serious, or concerning.
In recent years, there have been fewer infections from five of the germs previously listed as “serious.” Infections from the urgent threat “nightmare bacteria” carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have remained stable—a noteworthy accomplishment given how quickly and broadly this deadly germ spread across the United States in the early 2000s.
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