THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

CDC releases report on drug-resistant health threats

More than two million people in the U.S. get antibiotic-resistant infections annually causing at least 23,000 deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday.

The CDC released the report, which is called Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. The report represents the first snapshot of the burden of threats posed by antibiotic-resistant germs on human health.

The report assessed threats based on barriers to prevention, how easily an infection spread, availability of effective antibiotics, a 10-year projection of how common it could become, how common the infection is, economic impact and health impact. The most urgent threats included Clostridium difficile, drug-resistant gonorrhea and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.

"Antibiotic resistance is rising for many different pathogens that are threats to health," Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC, said. "If we don't act now, our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won't have the antibiotics we need to save lives."

Antibiotic-resistant infections also add approximately $20 million in excess direct healthcare costs and lost productivity costs as high as $35 billion annually.

Antibiotics are also used in food-producing animals. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently proposed guidance for only using these drugs when medically necessary.

"Every time antibiotics are used in any setting, bacteria evolve by developing resistance," Steve Solomon, the director of CDC's Office of Antimicrobial Resistance, said. "This process can happen with alarming speed. These drugs are a precious, limited resource-the more we use antibiotics today, the less likely we are to have effective antibiotics tomorrow."

The report recommended four core actions to battle antibiotic resistance, including preventing infections and the spread of resistance, tracking resistance patterns, improving the use of today's antibiotics and developing new antibiotics and diagnostic tests.