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CDC Sounds Alarm on Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Report cites overuse of antibiotics as key to the life-threatening problem

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Twelve infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria are listed as serious, and three as concerning. For each bacteria threat, the CDC offers guidance for what healthcare industry officials, medical professionals and the general public can do to limit its spread.

Infections by antibiotic-resistant bacteria add as much as $20 billion in excess direct health-care costs, with additional costs for lost productivity as high as $35 billion a year, according to the report.

In its report, the CDC outlined a four-pronged strategy for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria:

  • Preventing infections and preventing the spread of resistance.
  • Tracking resistant bacteria.
  • Improving the use of existing antibiotics.
  • Promoting the development of new antibiotics and new diagnostic tests for resistant bacteria.

"As different as these problems are, the same strategies to address them are shared in common," Solomon said. "By helping people understand that those four core strategies are shared among the ways we address all of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria, we put it all in context and provide a glimpse of the big picture."

Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said he appreciates the report's frank, down-to-earth manner.

"[The report] gives us a handle. Something we can use to talk with the public," he said. "Obviously, there is an enormous risk to the health of the public by antibiotic resistance, and it's going to take a multiple-sector response to resolving it."

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