Every year, more than two million people in the United States 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 and Prevention (CDC). Press release here, full report with excellent graphics here.
The report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013, presents a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs that have the most impact on human health. This report is also the first time that CDC has ranked these threats into categories of urgent, serious, and concerning.
- In addition to the illness and deaths caused by resistant bacteria, the report found that C. difficile, a serious diarrheal infection usually associated with antibiotic use, causes at least 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths every year.
- The loss of effective antibiotic treatments will not only cripple the ability to fight routine infectious diseases but will also undermine treatment of infectious complications in patients with other diseases. Many advances in medical treatment, such as joint replacements, organ transplants, and cancer therapies, are dependent on the ability to fight infections with antibiotics. If the ability to effectively treat those infections is lost, the ability to safely offer people many of the life-saving and life-improving modern medical advances will be lost with it.
- The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed drugs used in human medicine. However, up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary or inappropriate.
If you think you needn’t worry about the rapid growth of antibiotic resistance, then I suggest you need to do a bit of homework. A starting place: Antibiotic resistance: a return to the pre-antibiotic world is coming faster than you think. This isn’t just an issue to be solved by “them”. We are the victims and the pressure for change has to come from “us”.
Thanks to a tweet from @onemedical One Medical Group for the lead to the CDC report. One Medical looks to me to be a promising crack in the broken US primary care model. Not Your Typical Doctor’s Office indeed!