Monday, September 22, 2014

Executive Order Mandates Actions for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Every year, more than 2 million people in the U.S. develop infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 of those people die as a result, according to a report issued by CDC. According to the agency, antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent health threats facing the U.S. population today.

To address these risks, the White House announced a series of actions by President Barack Obama and his administration including an executive order, a new national strategy and a report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

The executive order directs federal departments and agencies to implement the national strategy. The strategy is a five-year plan for enhancing domestic and international capacity to the prevention and containment of outbreaks, maintaining the efficacy of current and new antibiotics and developing and deploying next-generation diagnostics, antibiotics, vaccines and other therapeutics.

According to CDC, detecting, preventing and controlling antibiotic resistance requires a coordinated effort. To support the national strategy and combat antibiotic resistance, the agency is working to address the threat in these four areas:
  • Preventing infections: Avoiding infections initially reduces the amount of antibiotics that have to be used and reduces the likelihood that resistance will develop during treatment. 
  • Tracking: CDC gathers data on antibiotic-resistant infections, causes of infections and whether there are particular reasons (risk factors) that caused some people to get a resistant infection. 
  • Improving antibiotic use: One of the most important actions needed to greatly slow the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections is to change the way antibiotics are used.
  • Drug fevelopment: Antibiotic resistance occurs as part of a natural process in which bacteria evolve, new antibiotics will always be needed to keep up with resistant bacteria as well as new diagnostic tests to track the development of resistance. 
Visit the CDC website for more information.