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CDC Sounds Alarm on Antibiotic Resistance and Overuse Of Unnecessary Antibiotics in People

Monday, September 16, 2013

(American Meat Institute)

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) in a new report and news conference today sounded the alarms on the threat posed by antibiotic resistance and said half of the antibiotic prescriptions written by physicians are unnecessary. 

The 114-page report counts infections from 17 drug-resistant bacteria and one fungus, pathogens that caused an overwhelming majority of drug-resistant bacterial infections in the country.  The infections were grouped into Urgent Threat, Serious Threat and Concerning Threat categories.   The most urgent infections were Clostridium difficile, Carbapenem-resistant enterobacterioacea (CRE) and drug resistant Neisseriae Gonorrohoeae.  CDC estimates that 23,000 people die every year of antibiotic resistant infections and cautioned that the U.S. could enter a "post antibiotic" era when antibiotics are no longer effective.

Antibiotic overuse is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance, according to the report. "Patients need to understand that antibiotics are not the solution for every illness," Steven Solomon, MD, director of the office of anti-microbial resistance said. "It's important that people not take antibiotics when they aren't necessary. It contributes to resistance, and it also has consequences to the patient in the form of side effects."

CDC officials stressed that the most acute antibiotic resistance problem is in hospitals.  The report addressed the issue of antibiotics in food animal production and said, "The use of antibiotics for promoting growth is not necessary, and the practice should be phased out."

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