According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, a new CDC report warns that Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi have spread beyond hospitals. The report outlines how these germs are creating more risks to public health and are complicating medical care. These superbugs are becoming a greater risk to families and businesses across America.
The CDC report, entitled Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, includes key statistics on latest national death and infection estimates that highlight the growing threat of antibiotic resistance germs in the U.S. The CDC warns that “the number of people facing antibiotic resistance is still too high” and that “more action is needed to fully protect people.”
The report lists 18 bacteria and fungi that are antibiotic-resistant and can therefore be a real concern to human health. The report also provides a watch list of three known threats that have not spread significantly in the U.S. but could become threats in the future. For example, Bordetella pertussis, bacteria that cause whooping cough, is an emerging drug-resistant threat.
According to the WSJ article, “Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi, once a threat confined mostly in hospitals, are spreading more aggressively now in other health-care facilities and communities, the CDC warned. Doctors struggle regularly to find antibiotics that will effectively treat their patients, or to operate on or provide cancer care to patients at risk of infection.” According to CDC director Robert Redfield, “Our nation must stop referring to a coming post-antibiotic era—it’s already here.”
Ominously, the CDC’s senior adviser for antibiotic resistance, Michael Craig, claims that “The problem of antibiotic resistance is worse than we previously thought.” Based on the CDC’s statistics, every 11 seconds someone in the U.S. develops an antibiotic-resistant infection, and, someone dies every 15 minutes.
Mr. Craig also warned that a growing number of dangerous germs and bugs are spreading outside of medical facilities and hospitals. These germs include drug-resistant urinary-tract infections and gonorrhea caused by bacteria with enzymes (known as extended-spectrum beta-lactamases, or ESBLS). These germs are dangerous because they destroy many widely used antibiotics, including penicillin.
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