The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have published a report titled, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. The report provides a "snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health", and aims to increase awareness and encourage immediate action.

"Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection." The report acknowledges that even these figures are "based on conservative assumptions and are likely minimum estimates."

"Antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats. Infections from resistant bacteria are now too common, and some pathogens have even become resistant to multiple types or classes of antibiotics (antimicrobials used to treat bacterial infections). The loss of effective antibiotics will undermine our ability to fight infectious diseases and manage the infectious complications common in vulnerable patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, dialysis for renal failure, and surgery, especially organ transplantation, for which the ability to treat secondary infections is crucial."

The report covers current threats categorized by microorganism, gaps in knowledge of antibiotic resistance, core actions to fight back against antibiotic resistance, and work undertaken by the CDC to prevent infections and the spread of resistance.