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CDC Report on Antibiotic Resistance

In Sept 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States issued what was seen as the first time hard-data was made available on the problem of antibiotic resistance.

The report estimates that 2 million Americans are infected each year by antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains and lead to 23,000 deaths per annum. The agency warned that this was a conservative estimate since they had included only deaths which could be definitively attributed to the bacteria, rather than a secondary reason. An earlier report from the CDC in 2007 had estimated 1,00,000 deaths per annum due to ntibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.

Out of a total 17 named bacteria strains, the report identifies 3 strains as “urgent threats” and 12 strains as “serious threats”.

Threat-level “URGENT” – The bacteria is an immediate public health threat that requires urgent and aggressive action.

Threat-level “SERIOUS” – The bacteria is a serious concern and requires prompt and sustained action to ensure the problem does not grow

Threat-level “CONCERNING” – Careful monitoring and preventive action are needed.

The 3 “urgent threats” are as follows –

1. Clostridium difficile – causes life-threatening diarrhea. A new strain emerged in 2000. Causes at least 14,000 deaths per annum in the USA and leads to US$ 1 billion extra spending on healthcare.

2. Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) – CRE have become resistant to nearly all antibiotics we have today, including Carbapenems are considered the antibiotic of last resort. While the number of deaths caused (600 per annum in USA) is not yet very high, the strain is now found in nearly every state in the US and could lead to a widespread infection.

3. Neisseria Gonorrheae – showing increasing resistance to antibiotics used to treat it, including Cefixime, Ceftriaxone, Azithromycin and Tetracycline.

The full report is available at

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