The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Monday that a new report now shows the number of people who die annually as a result of drug-resistance superbugs. The number, a staggering 23,000, comes as the CDC recognizes the need for immediate action.
“For organism after organism, we’re seeing this steady increase in resistance rates,” said CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden in an interview with Reuters. “We don’t have new drugs about to come out of the pipeline. If and when we get new drugs, unless we do a better job of protecting them, we’ll lose those, also.”
The new report says that the overprescribing of antibiotics is to blame for antibiotic resistance that certain resistant superbugs are being considered an “urgent threat.” Three of the most serious and urgent, according to the report, include an antibiotic-resistant form of gonorrhea, Clostridium difficile infections, and carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, which Frieden calls a “nightmare.”
In addition to naming the drug-resistant superbugs, the CDC report advises specific action that should be taken in order to try and stop this, including being on top of immunizations, cleanliness and basic health precautions, using antibiotics less frequently and only when really needed, tracking drug-resistant bacteria more closely, and advancing the development of new drugs that can potentially treat these diseases.
Frieden says that action should be taken immediately to help fight these drug-resistant diseases.
“It’s not too late,” he said. “There are things we can do that can stop the spread of drug resistance. We need to scale up the implementation of those strategies.”
The report finds the nearly 2 million people are diagnosed with the drug-resistant bacterial infections every year, and among those diagnosed, at least 23,000 die on average.