Drug resistance threats outlined

Published on: Sep 17, 2013

Every year, more than 2 million people in the U.S. get infections that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die as a result, according to a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

The report, "Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013," presents the "first snapshot" of the burden and threats posed by antibiotic-resistant microbes having the most impact on human health, CDC said.

Threats were assessed according to seven factors associated with resistant infections: health impact, economic impact, how common the infection is, a 10-year projection of how common it could become, how easily it spreads, availability of effective antibiotics and barriers to prevention.

To help ensure that medically important antibiotics are used judiciously in food-producing animals, CDC pointed out that the Food & Drug Administration recently proposed a guidance describing a pathway for using these drugs only when medically necessary and targeting their use to only address diseases and health problems.

To combat the development of antibiotic resistance, CDC has identified four core actions:

1. Preventing infections and preventing the spread of resistance. Avoiding infections reduces the amount of antibiotics that have to be used and reduces the likelihood that resistance will develop, CDC said.

2. Tracking. CDC gathers data on antibiotic-resistant infections, causes of infections and whether there are particular reasons (risk factors) that cause some people to get a resistant infection.

3. Improving antibiotic use/stewardship. CDC said the most important action needed to greatly slow the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections is to change the way antibiotics are used.

4. Developing drugs and diagnostic tests. Because antibiotic resistance occurs as part of a natural process in which bacteria evolve, it can be slowed but not completely stopped, CDC said.

The full report is available at www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/threat-report-2013.

The Animal Health Institute (AHI) noted that the CDC report is "consistent with what research has shown for a long time: The largest antibiotic resistance threats are not connected to the use of antibiotics to keep food animals healthy."

Of the 18 specific antibiotic resistance threats discussed in the report, AHI said only two have possible connections to antibiotic use in food animals.

Fewer MRSA cases: An estimated 30,800 fewer invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections occurred in the U.S. in 2011 compared to 2005, according to a study by Dr. Raymund Dantes and colleagues at CDC.

The researchers estimated that 80,461 invasive MRSA infections occurred nationally in 2011. Of those, 48,353 were health care-associated community-onset infections (HACO), 14,156 were hospital-onset infections and 16,560 were community-associated infections, according to the results published Sept. 16 in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. (JAMA).

Since 2005, national estimated incidence rates have decreased 27.7% for HACO infections, 54.2% for hospital-onset infections and 5.0% for community-onset infections.