Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, a diarrhea-causing superbug and a class of fast-growing killer bacteria dubbed a “nightmare” were classified as urgent public-health threats in the United States on Monday.
According to a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 2 million people in the United States develop serious bacterial infections that are resistant to one or more types of antibiotics each year, and at least 23,000 die from the infections.
“For organism after organism, we’re seeing this steady increase in resistance rates,” Dr Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a telephone interview. “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 lesion on this patient’s heel was due to the systemic
dissemination of the N. gonorrhoeae bacteria.
The United States is not alone in raising the alarm over antibiotic drug resistance. Last March the chief medical officer for England said antibiotic resistance poses a “catastrophic health threat”. That followed a report last year from the World Health Organization that found a “superbug” strain of gonorrhea had spread to several European countries.
The CDC report ranks the threat of drug-resistant superbugs into three categories – urgent, severe and concerning – based on factors such as their health and economic impacts, the total number of cases, the ease with which they are transmitted and the availability of effective antibiotics.
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