US superbug infections rising, but deaths are falling


Unsafe "superbugs" that have become resistant to our most sophisticated antibiotics are deadlier than originally thought, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"The new AR Threats Report shows us that our collective efforts to stop the spread of germs and preventing infections is saving lives", said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D., in a statement.

There are five "urgent threats" listed in the new report - the three from the previous report (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and C difficile) and two newcomers - the deadly multi-drug resistant fungus, Candida auris, as well as carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter. These germs spread through people, animals and the environment.

The report shows that health officials are in for a very long war against antibiotic-resistant germs, said Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs for the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

For the first time, the CDC also added a new category to the ones used to classify the 18 pathogens: a watch list of three germs that officials are monitoring because they have the potential to spread resistance widely or are not well-understood in the United States.

Almost twice as many people have died from infections that don't respond to antibiotics than previously thought, the country's top health officials announced Wednesday, a development that raises the stakes in what is already acknowledged to be a serious threat to public health.

The new numbers, though still conservative, underscore the magnitude of the problem and will help prioritize resources to address the most pressing threats, infectious disease experts said.

It's hard to estimate the number of drug-resistant infections because no comprehensive surveillance system or database exists.

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The report, the first update on the subject from the CDC in six years, uses better data sources - electronic patient records - than were available in 2013. - A superbug resistant to all known antibiotics that can cause "severe" infections or even death is spreading undetected through hospital wards across the world, scientists in Australia warned on September 3. The American Medical Association said it is working to ensure the appropriate use of antibiotics across healthcare settings and working to identify gaps and barriers to implementing antibiotic stewardship in outpatient health care facilities, officials said. People can also help by maintaining good hygiene and washing their hands regularly, making sure to cook meat adequately and practicing safe sex (given that some antibiotic-resistant infections, such as gonorrhea, can be transmitted sexually).

About 36,000 Americans died from drug-resistant infections in 2017, down 18% from an estimated 44,000 in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated.

Officials credit hospitals for using antibiotics more judiciously, and doing more to isolate patients with resistant infections. The more antibiotics are used, in health care and agriculture, the less effective they become.

"These are happening here and now, in the United States, in large numbers". They do not treat viral infections such as the flu or the common cold. Without continued vigilance, this progress may be challenged by the increasing burden of some infections.

And infections from resistant group A streptococcus - which causes strep throat and scarlet fever - have quadrupled since the 2013 report to more than 5,000. These bacteria often cause urinary tract infections for which antibiotics are prescribed.

- The other new urgent threat is Candida auris, a fungus that can cause life-threatening infections if it gets into the bloodstream.

A new report has revealed that drug-resistant "superbugs" are deadlier than originally thought.