Report: Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019

Today, NACCHO released a commentary in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s  (CDC’s) new report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2019. The report shows that antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the United States each year. That means, on average, someone in the United States gets an antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds and every 15 minutes someone dies.

Data from the new report also show progress made in fighting these infections. Since 2013, prevention efforts have reduced deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections by 18 percent overall and by nearly 30 percent in hospitals. In the community, rapid detection and prevention strategies have helped protect people from two community-associated germs: vaccines have helped reduce infections from Streptococcus pneumoniae in many at-risk groups, and the drug-resistant TB cases in the United States remain stable due to effective TB control strategies.

However, CDC is concerned about antibiotic-resistant infections that are on the rise including:

  • More than half a million resistant gonorrhea infections occur each year, twice as many as reported in 2013. Gonorrhea-causing bacteria have developed resistance to all but one class of antibiotics, and half of all infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic.
  • Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae are one of the leading causes of death from resistant germs. They make urinary tract infections harder to treat, especially in women, and could undo progress made in hospitals if allowed to spread there.
  • Erythromycin-resistant group A Streptococcus infections have quadrupled since the 2013 report. If resistance continues to grow, infections and deaths could rise.
  • Antibiotic-resistant germs often found in healthcare, including CRE and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), caused more than 85 percent of the total deaths calculated in the report.

This new data show that continued vigilance is needed to maintain the progress we’ve seen. Further preventing infections and stopping the spread of germs will save more lives. Through its AR Solutions Initiative, CDC will continue to take a comprehensive approach to antibiotic resistance by working with partners across the One Health spectrum to stop the spread of resistance in healthcare, the community, and the environment.

About Kim Rodgers

Kim Rodgers serves as a Communications Specialist at NACCHO. Her work includes promoting local health departments' best practices, as well as partner tools and resources, in infectious disease and preparedness through NACCHO's communications channels, storytelling, and outreach to various audiences.

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