Each year, in the U.S., 2,049,442 illnesses caused by bacteria and fungi that are resistant to at least some classes of antibiotics;Each year, out of those illnesses, 23,000 deaths;Because of those illnesses and deaths, $20 billion each year in additional healthcare spending;And beyond the direct healthcare costs, an additional $35 billion lost to society in foregone productivity.
Overall, the report highlights 18 germs in particular who are resistant to nearly all known antibiotics, or quickly becoming so. The CDC’s director warned that, “If we are not careful, we will soon be in a post-antibiotic era.” What’s causing this spike in antibiotic resistance? The report gestured at several causes, from the fact that farm animals are heavily treated with antibiotics to the way hospitals treat infections.The CDC is optimistic that some necessary reforms are underway in hospitals, but the it’s whether hospitals are reforming quickly enough to stop the 18 germs from doing serious and lasting damage. Once again, we are confronted with a crisis-in-the-making that is imposing serious deadlines on hospital and health care reform. Let’s hope we can meet them.[Hospital technology image courtesy of Shutterstock]