CDC Releases Its Second Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States Report

CDC released its second Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States (AR Threats Report). The report provides new national estimates of deaths and infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs, and categorizes the top resistant germs based on level of concern to human health. More people in the United States are dying from antibiotic-resistant infections than previously estimated. Without more action, significant progress since 2013 could be lost. [Source: CDC 13 Nov 2019]

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the United States each year. That means, on average, someone in the United States gets an antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds and every 15 minutes someone dies. When Clostridioides difficile, bacteria associated with antibiotic use, is included, the U.S. toll of all the threats in the report exceeds 3 million infections and 48,000 deaths.

Using the most robust and reliable data, the new report shows that the scope and burden of antibiotic-resistant threats in the United States were greater than previously estimated in the 2013 AR Threats Report. However, prevention efforts have reduced deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections by 18% overall and by nearly 30% in hospitals since 2013.

Without continued vigilance, germs will continue to spread, cause infections, and harm and kill people. Addressing this threat requires:

  • Preventing infections in the first place
  • Slowing the development of resistance through improved antibiotic use
  • Stopping the spread of resistance when it does develop

CDC continues to collaborate with partners across the globe to combat these threats through the AR Solutions Initiative. Together, more action is needed to fully protect people from antibiotic-resistant threats.

New in 2019 Report

  • Antibiotic resistance threats list--The list of 18 germs includes two new urgent threats, bringing the number of urgent threats to five.
  • Watch list--Three additional germs that have yet to spread resistance widely in the United States, but that CDC and other public health experts closely monitor.
  • Trends--For some germs, CDC studied how estimates of antibiotic-resistant infections and deaths has changed over time. Resistant infections and deaths from germs often associated with hospitals are steadily declining. Resistance to essential antibiotics is increasing in seven of the 18 germs.
  • Electronic health data--For the first time, the infection and death estimates for healthcare-associated germs were calculated using electronic health data from hospitals.