Certain kinds of bacteria that cause urinary tract infections are becoming tougher to treat with current antibiotics, according to new research from Extending the Cure.
UTIs are the second most common infection in the United States. ETC, a project of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, recently released the research via ResistanceMap, its online antibiotic drug use and resistance tool.
The researchers determined that available drugs used to treat UTIs are losing their effectiveness. The overall share of resistant bacteria increased by more than 30 percent between 1999 and 2010.
"Without proper antibiotic treatment, UTIs can turn into bloodstream infections, which are much more serious and can be life-threatening," Ramanan Laxminarayan, the director of Extending the Cure, said. "These findings are especially disturbing because there are few new antibiotics to replace the ones that are becoming less effective. New drug development needs to target the types of drug-resistant bacteria that cause these infections."
Antibiotic resistance was found to be higher in the Southeast, particularly in the East South Central and South Atlantic states. These regions are among the most intensive antibiotics users as well. The five states with the highest antibiotic use rate in 2010 were Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky.
"While nationally, people are starting to use antibiotics more judiciously, the new findings also show the message might not be reaching everyone," Laxminarayan said. "People continue to consume antibiotics at much higher rates in certain parts of the country, and the problem appears to be getting worse. We're hoping public health officials and health care leaders will be able to use ResistanceMap and the Drug Resistance Index to better target their education efforts to reduce inappropriate use."
More than 8.6 million visits to health care providers annually result from urinary tract infections. More than half of women in the U.S. will get a UTI during their lifetime.