Opinion

The Lancet: Antibiotic Resistance: A Final Warning

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"On Sept 16, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its report Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013—their first ever reporton this subject. From the outset the tone is clear: in his foreword, Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, states that "antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats. Infections from resistant bacteria are now too common." The stated aim of this report is to increase awareness of the threat resistance poses and to encourage immediat e action to address this threat.

To put the problem of resistance into perspective the report presents some sobering statistics. The CDC estimates that antibiotic-resistant organisms are the cause of infections in more than 2 million people each year in the USA. Of these people, more than 23 000 die as a consequence of their infections. The CDC stresses that these are conservative estimates and so the true numbers are probably much higher."