The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a new Vital Signs report that identified an alarming trend of antibiotic-resistant genes in “nightmare bacteria” across the United States, on April 03.
The CDC warned that nationwide testing – conducted in 2017, uncovered 221 instances of unique resistance genes in “nightmare bacteria.” According to Fortune, of all the germ samples submitted to the CDC for lab testing, one in four had antibiotic-resistant gene characteristics.
Is America losing the war against antibiotic-resistant bacteria?
For some time, the CDC has warned Americans about the deadly, drug-resistant ‘superbugs,’ otherwise now called “nightmare bacteria,” which seems officials have upgraded the term to a much more dangerous name — reflecting the severity of today’s epidemic.
“Nightmare bacteria” kills more than 23,000 Americans each year, and the report states about 11 percent of Americans who were screened had “no symptoms” before the bacteria aggressively spread.
“While antibiotic resistance (AR) threats vary nationwide, AR has been found in every state. And unusual resistance germs, which are resistant to all or most antibiotics tested and are uncommon or carry special resistance genes, are constantly developing and spreading,” the CDC said in a report.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can spread like wildfire
“Essentially, we found nightmare bacteria in your backyard,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Acting Principal Deputy Director of CDC.
“These verge on untreatable infections” where the only option may be supportive care — fluids and sometimes machines to maintain life to give the patient a chance to recover, Schuchat said.
Schuchat states about 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and around 23,000 people die from the deadly infections.
Dr. Jay Butler, the chief medical officer for the state of Alaska and past president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said, “even in remote areas” the antibiotic-resistant bacteria threat is real, because those who are infected can unknowingly transport the deadly bacteria.
“Rapid identification of the new or rare threats is the critical first step in CDC’s containment strategy to stop the spread of antibiotic resistance. When a germ with significant resistance is detected, facilities can quickly isolate patients and begin aggressive infection control and screening actions to discover, reduce, and stop transmission to others,” the CDC said.
What can the Federal Government do?
- Monitoring resistance and sounding the alarm when threats emerge. CDC develops and provides new lab tests so health departments can quickly identify new threats.
- Improving identification through CDC’s new AR Lab Network in all 50 states, 5 large cities, and Puerto Rico, including 7 regional labs and a national tuberculosis lab for specialty testing.
- Supporting prevention experts and programs in every state, and providing data and recommendations for local prevention and response.
- Testing innovative infection control and prevention strategies with health care and academic partners.
State and Local Health Departments and Labs must can:
- Make sure all health care facilities know what state and local lab support is available and what isolates (pure samples of a germ) to send for testing. Develop a plan to respond rapidly to unusual genes and germs when they first appear.
- Assess the quality and consistency of infection control in health care facilities across the state, especially in facilities with high-risk patients and long stays. Help improve practices.
- Coordinate with affected health care facilities, the new AR Lab Network regional lab, and CDC for every case of unusual resistance. Investigations should include onsite infection control assessments to find spread. Consider colonization screenings. Continue until spread is controlled.
- Provide timely lab results and recommendations to affected health care facilities and providers. If the patient came from or was transferred to another facility, alert that facility.
“The efforts detailed in the Vital Signs report were made possible through new congressional funding in 2016 to combat antibiotic resistance,” Dr. Auwaerter said. “We urge Congress to sustain and to grow that investment so that further progress will prepare us to meet the future challenges of antibiotic resistance from a position of strength.”
Antibiotic drugs are beneficial and have been around for decades. Here is the issue, antibiotic-resistant genes in bacteria are getting used to the drugs. It is a problem the CDC and the federal government have known for a while, but it is an issue that is more widespread than previously thought.
Mapping Out The Rise of Resistance: