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CDC sounds alarm on drug-resistant bacteria

September 17, 2013

WASHINGTON — A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that more than two million Americans develop antibiotic-resistant infections each year and about 23,000 die as a result, according to the Miami-Herald.

Government health officials are now expressing fear that those numbers, which are, at best, conservative estimates, could worsen as overuse and misuse of antibiotics cause more bacteria to develop resistance to the drugs, the article stated.

According to the article, without a major effort to preserve the current supply of antibiotics and to develop new ones, they say future generations will be ill-equipped to fight off the deadly superbugs.

"If we're not careful, the medicine chest will be empty when we go there to look for a lifesaving antibiotic for someone with a deadly infection. But if we act now, we can preserve these medications while we continue to work on development of new medications," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC.

The information comes from a new report, "Antibiotic Threats in the United States, 2013," which is the first comprehensive analysis of the nation's 18 most serious drug-resistant bacterial threats, and sees the CDC, categorizing the bacteria and the threat they pose as "urgent," "serious" and "concerning," the article noted.

Topping the list of the three "urgent" threats is carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), also known as the "nightmare bacteria" because of its high mortality rate; CRE is resistant to nearly all antibiotics and spreads its drug resistance to other bacteria that otherwise would be vulnerable to vaccines, the article added.

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