Medical

CDC Finds Germs with 'Unusual' Antibiotic Resistance Sweeping through America

CDC Finds Germs with 'Unusual' Antibiotic Resistance Sweeping through America

Adding to mounting concerns about widespread antibiotic resistance, USA public health officials detected more than 220 cases of what they described as "nightmare bacteria" across more than half the country a year ago, according to a new government report.

The CDC's Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network, together with health departments across the nation, found hundreds of instances of unsafe pathogens "hiding in plain sight".

About one in four germs tested by the CDC had genes that allowed them to spread resistance genes to other bacteria, CDC researchers found.

2 million US clients get infections from antibiotic-resistant germs each year, and 23,000 die from their infection, she stated.

The federal agency identified antibiotic-resistant genes 221 times in 2017.

Jay Butler, MD, chief medical officer and director, division of public health, at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, said on the call that clinicians, state, and health personnel are already seeing an impact of CDC resources in improving their ability to detect and respond to antimicrobial resistance, calling these resources a "game-changer" for colleagues in high-risk healthcare settings.

Fortunately, the CDC's containment strategy appears to be working.

This means that the 'unusual resistance may have spread and could have continued to spread, ' increasing the 'capacity to turn regular germs into nightmare bacteria, ' said Dr Scuchat.

The report adds that in 11 percent of screening tests, in people who were otherwise asymptomatic, the CDC found a hard to treat pathogen that spreads between hosts and facilities easily.

"CDC estimates show that even if only 20% effective, the containment strategy can reduce the number of nightmare bacteria cases by 76% over three years in one area", Schuchat said. Additionally, the CDC recommends clinical labs know what isolates to send for testing, establish protocols that immediately notify the health department, healthcare provider and infection control staff of unusual resistance, and validate new tests to identify the latest threats.

"The efforts detailed in the Vital Signs report were made possible through new congressional funding in 2016 to combat antibiotic resistance", Dr. Auwaerter said.

CDC noted that germs will continuously find ways to resist new and existing antibiotics, and "stopping new resistance from developing is not now possible".

The CDC provided two specific examples - one from Tennessee and the other in Iowa - which show that the containment strategy proved successful.

Its report falls in line with a set of guidelines written by experts from 13 countries - including the US, India and France - also published today by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, which call for an internationally-standardized approach to antibiotic use to curtail the proliferation of resistant bugs.

The instance in Tennessee included a patient who recently received health care outside the U.S. It was determined that the patient was carrying an unusual resistance germ. "But with an aggressive response, we have been able to stomp them out promptly and stop their spread between people, between facilities and between other germs".

The report looked at new and highly resistant germs that are not yet widespread.


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