U.S. CDC Warns of Looming “Post-Antibiotic Era”

Wired’s Maryn McKenna discusses the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s first report on the dangers of antibiotic resistance, which already contributes to over 20,000 deaths costs tens of billions of dollars in America each year:

“If we are not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era,” Dr. Tom Frieden, the CDC’s director, said in a media briefing. “And for some patients and for some microbes, we are already there.”

[…] The report lists some serious concerns the CDC has regarding how well resistance is monitored: in “gaps in knowledge,” it specifically names limited national and international surveillance, as well as the lack of data on agricultural use of . And it calls for action in four areas: gathering better data; preventing infections, through vaccination, better protective behavior in hospitals, and better food handling; improving the way in which are used, by not using them inappropriately in or agriculture; and developing not just new categories of but better diagnostic tests so that resistant organisms can be identified and dealt with sooner, before they spread. [Source]

The report focuses on the U.S., but underscores the urgency of recent reports on antibiotic overuse in humans and animals in China. McKenna highlighted the problem in Chinese agriculture in February (via CDT).