Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013; United States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013)

Guides (Legal or Medical)

This guide is designed for medical professionals but is easily accessible for those who are not versed in medical research and terminology. It provides a comprehensive look at: how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics; the known resistant bacterial infections and their effect on the public health and the health care fields; common drugs used to treat these bacteria and their current limitations; and rough estimates of the national burden of these infections (reporting and classification guidelines make it difficult to establish firm numbers). Additionally, the guide looks at other issues related to antibiotic use such as adverse reactions and gaps in scientific knowledge regarding their use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) proposes four key steps to curbing this issue: increase transmission prevention efforts, enhanced record keeping of cases resistant bacterial infection; strategic changes to the criteria for prescription and administration of antibiotics; and enhanced funding and support for research and development of new drugs and diagnostic tests.

Research shows a rapid and continued rise in infections from antimicrobial resistant bacteria. Questions surrounding overuse of antibiotics continue to surface as bacteria have begun to evolve and outlive the drugs used to treat them. The trends are concerning to those working to fight infectious diseases and complications stemming from other illnesses. The effects are evident in the treatment of infections secondary to HIV, cancer, renal failure, organ transplantation, and general surgery. In the United States alone, over two million people per year are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Many cases lead to hospitalization and death. Additionally, the CDC notes gonorrhea is the most urgent threat to public health, with approximately 30 percent of all diagnosed cases of gonorrhea now resistant to all existing antibiotic treatments.