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CDC Addresses Burden, Threat of Antibiotic Resistance

MONDAY, Jan. 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The burden and threats posed by antibiotic resistance infections are discussed in a report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Noting that antibiotic resistance is a worldwide problem, researchers from the CDC discuss the burden and threat of antibiotic resistance to bacteria that can cause severe human infections.

The researchers note that antibiotic resistance causes an estimated minimum of two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths per year, and one of the most urgent threats is Clostridium difficile, which causes an estimated minimum of 250,000 illnesses and 14,000 deaths per year. The estimated costs of antibiotic resistance could be as high as $20 billion in direct costs and $35 billion in indirect costs such as lost productivity. Antibiotic use is the most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance, with up to 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed inappropriately. The spread of resistant strains from person to person or from non-human sources is also a major factor in antibiotic resistance. The four core actions to combat antibiotic-resistant infection are prevention of infections and of the spread of resistance; tracing resistant bacteria; improving antibiotic use; and promoting the development of new antibiotics.

"When first-line and then second-line antibiotic treatment options are limited by resistance or are unavailable, health care providers are forced to use antibiotics that may be more toxic to the patient and frequently more expensive and less effective," CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a statement.

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