New Estimate of Annual Deaths Caused by Treatment Resistant Infections Highlights Gaps in Research, Stewardship, Surveillance
Estimates published recently in the Journal of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology,
showing that as many as 162,044 people die from multi-drug resistant infections annually in the United States, underscore the immediate need for accelerated and strengthened investments, innovations and public health efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance.
The estimates, nearly seven times higher than 2013 estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are based on 2010 mortality data, and indicate that infections resistant to treatments were the third leading cause of death that year. The data, against the backdrop of increasing antimicrobial resistance globally, and of a weakening industry environment for antibiotic research and development, must serve as a call to action on the part of the federal government.
Antibiotic stewardship programs in all health care settings, led by infectious diseases specialists, are essential. Tracking of antibiotic use and resistance in facilities is critical to public health surveillance that more rapidly detects and responds to antimicrobial resistance threats. As small companies that have focused on new antibiotic discovery continue to leave the field, implementing ways to incentivize the research and development of urgently needed new antibiotics, including with rapid action to stabilize a rapidly declining marketplace and maintain current companies, is paramount. In addition, the new estimates show that investment in the scientific, clinical and public health workforce needed to combat antimicrobial resistance, and in research to better understand the best approaches to combat the threat, will be fundamental to protecting individual and public health as well as the gains of modern medicine. The Infectious Diseases Society of America will continue to advocate for these crucial measures.