The White House announced a combative plan Friday to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, an escalating problem that causes approximately 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths every year in the United States.
The plan set some specific goals to fight the transmission of antibiotic-resistant microbes over the next five years. It wants to prevent and contain antibiotic-resistant infections by providing better control of “superbugs,” to keep the effectiveness of current and new drugs, and to create next-generation therapeutics. The plan is part of the Obama administration’s battle to almost double the amount of federal spending which is used to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Obama’s budget increase calls for more than $1.2 billion to attack and prevent antibiotic resistance.
Doctors, scientists and other public health officials have warned in the past that if antibiotic resistance will continue at the current rate, small infections would become life-threatening. Some regular modern surgeries and treatments, such as organ transplants, knee replacements and cancer treatments could become hazardous because of very difficult to treat infections.
President Obama has spoken clearly about his intentions in combating ”superbugs”: “They save the lives of service members wounded in battle. They prevent infections in one community from spreading far and wide. They’re also a critical defense against bio-terrorism. They are, quite simply, essential to the health of our people and people everywhere. So we should do everything in our power to ensure that antibiotics remain effective,” the president said.
The action plan brings up specific targets to cut down the incidence of some of the most common, but also the most serious infections.
Rhe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will attempt to cut Clostridium difficile infections rate by 50 percent, halve Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections and lower carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections acquired during hospitalization by 60 percent.
CRE infections affect patients in medical facilities and have turned to be resistant to almost all existing antibiotics.
Details of the plan were published on Thursday. Some groups criticized the document for its issues in addressing antibiotic use in animals. The Natural Resources Defense Council said in a statement that the White House is acknowledging the hazards public health threat posed by the misuse of antibiotics in human medicine and the livestock industry, adding that “the Obama Administration needs to do more to reduce antibiotic use in animals that are not sick.”
Image Source: The Guardian