Overprescribing antibiotics to Americans is fueling the rapid growth of antibiotic-resistant infections in the United States, according to a report released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov .) from CBS News.
More than two million people in the United States get drug-resistant infections annually. About 23,000 die from these diseases that are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics in doctors' arsenals.
“It is not too late,” CDC director Tom Frieden said during a press conference. “If we're not careful, the medicine chest will be empty when we go there to look for a lifesaving antibiotic for someone with a deadly infection. If we act now, we can preserve these medications while we continue to work on lifesaving medications.”
Antibiotic resistance is costing the United States $20 billion in excess health care costs, with costs to society for lost productivity reaching as much as an additional $35 billion.
In April, the CDC estimated that enough antibiotics are prescribed each year for four out of five Americans to be taking them . Doctors and other health care providers prescribed 258 million courses of antibiotics in 2010 for a population just under 309 million. They also estimated in this current report that up to 50% of antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly or to people who do not need them.
Read the full CDC report on antibiotic resistance at www.cbsnews.com .
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