November 25, 2019

CDC Report - Drug-resistant infections

CDC report sheds new light on drug-resistant infections

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that drug-resistant infections continue to be a major concern in the United States. The CDC found that over 2.8 resistant infections occur in the United States each year, killing more than 35,000 people.

“Dedicated prevention and infection control efforts in the U.S. are working to reduce the number of infections and deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant germs, but the number of people facing antibiotic resistance is still too high. More action is needed to fully protect people,” said the CDC in a report summary.

The report, a follow-up of 2013 CDC findings, presents data on the 18 bacteria and fungi that the CDC says require action now. These pathogens include Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter, drug-resistant Candida auris, Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, drug-resistant Campylobacter, Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, and drug-resistant nontyphoidal Salmonella. While many of the pathogens listed are most often spread in a healthcare setting, the CDC notes that Campylobacter and Salmonella can spread through raw and undercooked animal products and from touching pets or petting zoo animals.

The CDC emphasizes that drug-resistant infections are more than a human health challenge, as they threaten animal health and the food supply. “Antibiotic resistance is a One Health issue that can spread through people, animals, and the environment; threatens our most vulnerable friends and family members; and affects nearly every aspect of life,” writes CDC Directors Robert R. Redfield in his introduction to the report.

While the CDC says use of antibiotics in animal agriculture could be improved, the department also credits efforts to improve animal health without antibiotics. According to the report, “Vaccination of food-producing animals can also lower the chances of infection in consumers. The United States has seen fewer human Salmonella Typhimurium infections (a type of nontyphoidal Salmonella), which might be due to U.S. poultry producers vaccinating against Salmonella Typhimurium.”

In fact, despite the grim numbers, the CDC reports that efforts to combat antibiotic resistance overall are working. Deaths have decreased since the 2013 report, but there are still strides to be made. The CDC urges continued efforts toward:

  • Strategies to decrease spread within healthcare settings (e.g., implementing hand hygiene)
  • Vaccinating
  • Implementing biosecurity measures on farms
  • Responding rapidly to unusual genes and germs when they first appear, keeping new threats from spreading

Read more:

View the full CDC report: Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019

Read the ASAS Public Policy Statement: Preserving the Benefits of Antibiotics