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CDC Underestimates Hospital Drug-Resistant Infections: Study

By Nick Tate   |   Monday, 05 Aug 2013 03:34 PM

Federal health regulators have greatly underestimated the threat from antibiotic-resistant infections to patients in U.S. hospitals and efforts to target them are falling short, a new report suggests.
The article, published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, contends the rise of hard-to-treat infections is greater than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in its landmark 2008 analysis. What's more, the Food and Drug Administration's vow to fast-track new antibiotic development rules a year ago is not having much impact.

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Brad Spellberg, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed privately gathered data and concluded antibiotic resistance is "at crisis levels" in U.S. hospitals.
"With antibiotic-resistant microbes infecting more than 2 million Americans every year and killing more than 100,000 annually, we must act to find new weapons in the global battle against deadly Superbugs," said Spellberg, M.D., a co-author of the report and an expert on antibiotic resistance.
"Our analysis found the rise in antibiotic resistance among three common forms of hospital-acquired infections is much greater than previously reported by the CDC based on older data, leading us to conclude that more than an FDA 'reboot' is needed. To encourage antibiotic development, the pharmaceutical industry must see that there is a path for a return on its investment in antibiotic development."
Among the new report’s findings:
  • The resistance of acinetobacter (A. baumannii) to the last-resort drug carbapenems is more than 50 percent; the CDC found it to be 11 percent.
  • The resistance of E. coli to cephalosporins (a class of antibiotics) was 8-11 percent; the CDC found it to be 5 percent.
  • The resistance of klebsiella (K. pneumonia) to cephalosporins was 20-27 percent’ the CDC found it to be 15 percent.
"None of the antibiotics under development today can address all of these antibiotic-resistant infections," said Dr. Spellberg. "A complete overhaul of the approaches to resistance, disease and prevention could change the continuing upward trajectory of antibiotic resistant infections. To do anything less invites a bleak post-antibiotic future, in which infectious diseases once again reign supreme."

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