Is Antibiotic Resistance getting WORSE?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that US hospitals and healthcare providers have made considerable progress in preventing some healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), but the battle is far from over, as antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to threaten hospital patients.

“New data show that far too many patients are getting infected with dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria in healthcare settings,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a news release.

Antibiotic-resistant infections can be “difficult or impossible to treat.” Physicians, nurses, and healthcare leaders are “key to stamping out superbugs,” Dr Frieden added during a media briefing. “No one should get sick while trying to get well.” It is possible to reduce these infections, but it will take “relentless effort,” he continued.

According to the CDC, each year, about 2 million Americans develop antibiotic-resistant infections, and roughly 23,000 die.

In a Vital Signs report published online March 3, 2016 in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC provides the latest data on HAIs, including Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and the role of six antibiotic-resistant bacteria of “highest concern.” They are:

  • carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae,
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus,
  • extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae,
  • vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus,
  • multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and
  • multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter.

In 2014, the chance that an HAI was caused by one of these six antibiotic-resistant bacteria was one in seven in short-term acute care hospitals, a statistic Dr Frieden called “deeply concerning.” In long-term acute care hospitals, the figure increases to a “chilling” one in four, he said.