Drug-resistant superbugs are a global health threat


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Antibiotics save lives, but superbugs are outsmarting them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that drug resistance is one of the greatest global health challenges of modern time.

Superbugs are germs capable of learning and evolving, making them resistant to the antibiotics designed to kill them.

According to a 2019 report from the CDC, nearly 36,000 Americans die from superbug infections every year or roughly one every fifteen minutes.

The agency says there are five drug-resistant superbugs that pose an urgent threat to global health.

Genetic researchers found some germs can share their DNA with other germs effectively teaching them how to outwit complex antibiotics.

The CDC says most deaths from drug-resistant infections are caused by germs typically found in hospitals.

But, the report notes, while superbug infections from hospitals are down from the 2013 study, infections caught anywhere else in the community are on the rise.

Experts point to the over-prescribing of antibiotics as a factor behind growing drug resistance and say the only way to prevent the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections is if doctors, patients, and policymakers work together.

Antibiotics can be overused to treat infections in the animals that we eat.

The CDC says 20% of all drug-resistant infections come from our food.

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(This story was originally published on November 14, 2019)

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