Speaking at a media briefing for the Centers for Disease Control's first-ever report on "the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs," CDC director Tom Frieden offered these sobering words of warning about the future of medical microbiology.


Top image modified from the CDC's report on drug-resistant tuberculosis

Over at Superbug, Maryn McKenna has a rundown of the threat report's major findings, including "some serious concerns... regarding how well [antibiotic-]resistance is monitored":

...in “gaps in knowledge,” it specifically names limited national and international surveillance, as well as the lack of data on agricultural use of antibiotics. And it calls for action in four areas: gathering better data; preventing infections, through vaccination, better protective behavior in hospitals, and better food handling; improving the way in which antibiotics are used, by not using them inappropriately in health care or agriculture; and developing not just new categories of antibiotics but better diagnostic tests so that resistant organisms can be identified and dealt with sooner, before they spread.

In an interview before the report became public, Frieden said that some of these actions are already happening. “My biggest frustration is the pace of change,” he told me. “Hospitals are making progress, but it’s single digits in terms of the number of hospitals that are being very proactive. The challenge is scaling up what we know works, and doing that fast enough so that we can close the door on drug resistance before it’s too late.”


More at Superbug.