Back to Top Skip to main content

Antibiotic resistance a serious threat that's growing, CDC warns

A bacteriology researcher at the Institute of Medical Research swabs an isolated sample of streptococcus pneumonia in Goroka, Papua New Guinea, June 4, 2015. The researcher is testing the bacteria to determine if the strain has sensitivity to antibiotics or if it is resistant.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris/Released) A bacteriology researcher at the Institute of Medical Research swabs an isolated sample of streptococcus pneumonia in Goroka, Papua New Guinea. The researcher is testing the bacteria to determine if the strain has sensitivity to antibiotics or if it is resistant. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marcus Morris)

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Public Health

Doctors prescribe sick patients antibiotic drugs with the specific intent of knocking out the viral, bacterial or fungal infections that put them under the weather. But new research shows microbial pests have learned to fight back.

During a Nov. 13 telephone briefing for news media, both Dr. Robert R. Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Michael Craig of the agency’s Antibiotic Resistance Coordination and Strategy Unit, outlined the situation at hand. Each year, more than 2.8 million infections related to antibiotic resistance take place. More than 35,000 people die from those infections.

Redfield and Craig spoke of the CDC’s newly published white paper on the subject, which reports that nearly 3 million Americans “face an antibiotic-resistant infection.”

The report, titled "Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States," identifies 18 known antibiotic-resistant pathogens that must be dealt with before they can proliferate and spread untreatable illnesses. The latest statistics, Redford and Craig said, indicate the problem is far more serious than researchers believed when they prepared the last such report in 2013. Improved measuring methodology has shown that the number of deaths back then was actually twice as high as they believed at the time.

“CDC uses the best data, but [estimates were] conservative at the time,” Craig said.

“It threatens our nation’s health and our global security,” Redfield said. “The good news is we know how to protect ourselves. We’re seeing progress nationwide.”

Related hospital deaths have declined by 18 percent overall and by 30 percent in hospitals alone, Redford said, through the implementation of comprehensive strategies throughout the human and animal health-care professions and agriculture as well. 

The CDC is taking a five-pronged approach toward a solution. It entails: infection prevention and control; tracking and sharing data; improving the appropriate use of antibiotics; investment in vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics; and close monitoring of the environment and sanitation practices.

Within the Military Health System, and particularly at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, researchers are also taking the issue of antimicrobial resistance seriously.

“Over the last few years we have actively been studying the epidemiology and the outcomes associated with antimicrobial resistance infections in military hospitals,” explained Dr. Allison Malloy, assistant professor and infectious disease faculty, Department of Pediatrics, USU. “Consistent with the CDC findings, we have found a high mortality associated with some of these infections.  Across the Department of Defense facilities, we have implemented programs to help control these infections including active surveillance, rapid pathogen identification and targeted treatment, and data-driven antibiotic stewardship programs.”

For example, the Multidrug-Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN), under the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, coordinates analysis and management of antibiotic resistance across the entire military health system. This helps military treatment facilities share information, optimize standard practices for infection control and patient safety, identify an outbreak of a pathogen earlier, and make more appropriate antibiotic selections for patients.  MRSN is part of a DoD-wide effort, Antimicrobial Resistance and Monitoring Research Program (ARMoR), which includes DoD hospital laboratories, clinicians and infection control staff; public health reporting groups; Navy and Air Force public health data collection programs; and national policy groups, with the common goal of managing Service programs monitoring antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“We will continue to monitor for infections and seek to improve the quality of healthcare provided to military members, their families and retirees,” Dr. Malloy said.

While medical community researchers and clinicians are taking action to counter the bad effects of antibiotic resistance, the CDC offered practical advice that would help average citizens mitigate the risks they face. Here are some:

  • When visiting a doctor to treat sickness, ask what could make you feel better rather than request antibiotics specifically. If prescribed antibiotics, use them in the manner in which your provider asks.
  • Follow good hygiene practices. Wash your hands, be careful when handling food or caring for animals.
  • Get vaccinated.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Be vigilant when traveling abroad.

Health care providers can do their part as well, the report said, by following good infection prevention and control practices and being more vigilant when prescribing antibiotics. Providers also should take note of infections and resistance patterns where they work and in their communities.

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 8 - August 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence of abdominal hernias in service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014; Incidence of hiatal hernia in service members, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 9 - September 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2011–June 2016; Update: Diagnoses of overweight and obesity, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011–2015; Update: Osteoarthritis and spondylosis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010–2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 4 - April 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Hospitalizations among members of the active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Ambulatory visits among members of the active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Surveillance snapshot: Illness and injury burdens, reserve component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Surveillance snapshot: Illness and injury burdens, recruit trainees, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015; Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, non-service member beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 10 - October 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Obstructive sleep apnea and associated attrition, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, January 2004–May 2016; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2011–June 2016; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza immunization among U.S. Armed Forces healthcare workers, August 2011–April 2016.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 2 - February 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Editorial: What's old is new again: syphilis in the U.S. Army; Use of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine and the prevalence of antibodies to vaccine-targeted strains among female service members before and after vaccination; Brief report: Human papillomavirus (HPV) 6, 11, 16, and 18 seroprevalence among males and females entering military service during 2011-2012; Sexually transmitted infections in U.S. Air Force recruits in basic military training; Incident and recurrent Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010-2014; Incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections and screening compliance, U.S. Army active duty females under 25 years of age, 2011-2014; Brief report: Associations between antecedent bacterial vaginosis and incident chlamydia and gonorrhea diagnoses, U.S. Army females, 2006-2012.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 23 No. 3 - March 2016

Report
1/1/2016

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: The DoD Global, Laboratory-based, Influenza Surveillance Program: summary for the 2013-2014 influenza season; Correlation between antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli infections in hospitalized patients and rates of inpatient prescriptions for selected antimicrobial agents, Department of Defense hospitals, 2010-2014; Brief report: The epidemiology of herpes simplex virus type 2 infections in a large cohort of HIV-infected patients, 2006-2014; Update: Heat injuries, active component, U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, 2015; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, 2011-2015; Update: Exertional hyponatremia, active component, U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, 2000-2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

Sustainment and Advancement of Amputee Care

Report
4/8/2015

This report provides Defense Health Board findings on amputee care and research in the Department of Defense.

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments | Technology

Deployment Pulmonary Health

Report
2/11/2015

Defense Health Board (DHB) report summarizing the findings and recommendations from its independent review on Deployment Pulmonary Health

Recommended Content:

Conditions and Treatments

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 11 - November 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Rates of acute respiratory illnesses of infectious and allergic etiologies after permanent changes of duty assignments, active component, U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, January 2005–September 2015; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of notifiable medical conditions, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2008–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 10 - October 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Chikungunya infection in DoD healthcare beneficiaries following the 2013 introduction of the virus into the Western Hemisphere, 1 January 2014 to 28 February 2015; Update: Cold weather injuries, active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, July 2010-June 2015; Surveillance snapshot: Influenza immunization among U.S. Armed Forces healthcare workers, August 2010-April 2015.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 12 - December 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Follow-up analysis of the incidence of acute respiratory infections among enlisted service members during their first year of military service before and after the 2011 resumption of adenovirus vaccination of basic trainees; Diagnoses of low back pain, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010–2014; Brief report: Incidence of diagnoses using ICD-9 codes specifying chronic pain (not neoplasm related) in the primary diagnostic position, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007–2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 1 - January 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2014; Influenza A(H3N2) outbreak at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, 2014; Incidence of Salmonella infections among service members of the active and reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces and among other beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2000-2013.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 8 - August 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Routine screening for antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components, January 2010-June 2015; Durations of military service after diagnoses of HIV-1 infections among active component members of the U.S. Armed Forces, 1990-2013; Case report: Probable murine typhus at Joint Base San Antonio, TX; Morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries in deployed (per Theater Medical Data Store [TMDS]) active and reserve component service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2008-2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 6 - June 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Accidental drownings, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2005-2014; Risk of mental health disorders following an initial diagnosis of postpartum depression, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2010; Urinary tract infections in active component U.S. Armed Forces women before and after routine screening Pap examination; Diarrheal and respiratory illness surveillance during US-RP Balikatan 2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 22 No. 2 - February 2015

Report
1/1/2015

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Whither the "signature wounds of the war" after the war: estimates of incidence rates and proportions of TBI and PTSD diagnoses attributable to background risk, enhanced ascertainment, and active war zone service, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2003-2014; Surveillance snapshot: responses to the traumatic brain injury (TBI) screening questions on the 2012 version of the Post-Deployment Health Assessment (DD Form 2796); Measles and mumps among service members and other beneficiaries of the U.S. Military Health System, January 2007-December 2014.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 18

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing: Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.