The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that antibiotic-resistant pathogens sicken 2 million Americans a year and listed the three most urgent threats as Clostridium difficile, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
The agency's first all-encompassing report on antibiotic disease threats spans 114 pages and ranks the pathogens in part to spur a multipronged effort to prioritize and battle the problems. Antibiotic-resistant microorganisms play a role in 23,000 deaths each year, the CDC said.
At a media briefing today, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said the landmark report provides a snapshot of the antibiotic-resistant organisms that have the biggest impact on human health. He said the numbers are very conservative estimates that don't take into account infections that occur outside hospitals, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers.
The numbers are worrisome, because so few antibiotics to battle the new pathogens are in the development pipeline, he said. "If we don't take action early, the medicine cabinet will be empty for patients with life-threatening infections."
The CDC ranked the antibiotic-resistant organisms based on seven criteria: health impact, economic impact, how common the infection is, 10-year projection of how common it will become, ease of spread, antibiotic availability, and prevention barriers. It also grouped the organisms into three groups, based on threat level.
Topping the list is C...
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