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Will We See More Cases of Antibiotic-resistant Superbugs in the US?


Jason C. Gallagher, PharmD, FCCP, FIDSA, BCPS, President, Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists, in light of the recent antibiotic resistant superbug, shares if we will see more cases of antibiotic resistance in the United States.
Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)
“It is inevitable that we will see more resistant bacteria and eventually outbreaks in the United States. [Escherichia] coli is normal flora, so the biggest concern here is that this can become something that just colonizes people, [like] they have all the time. When antibiotic-resistance doesn’t cost the bacteria a lot of energy, or lead to problems in it, then that resistance can spread fairly easily. We don’t know exactly if [the Pennsylvania Superbug] is one of those or not, but should that be the case, then it’s very likely to spread.
We already have resistant bacteria spreading throughout the country and causing more common infections than used to. I think that one of the best things that [the] CDC has done is put the spotlight on our problem of antimicrobial resistance, particularly with their release of a report in 2013 describing the antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, where they highlighted the off-quoted numbers that 2 million people a year are infected in the United States with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria and over 23,000 die every year from it. That doesn’t include [the] over 10,000 who die from C. diff infections each year. The numbers are pretty impressive.
I think a lot of the media is grabbing on to this and running with ‘does this herald the end of antibiotics?’ and I don’t think that is the case, but it is a concerning indicator that we have reached the point that there are untreatable infections. I don’t think that will become the norm for most infections, probably ever, but it is the beginning of a slippery slope that we’ve already been going down.”
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