The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on clinicians and drug makers to help fight a worldwide surge in antibiotic-resistant organisms, some of which could be just as prevalent and as dangerous as Zika and Ebola. The rate of their emergence has picked up in recent years, thanks in part to inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics. As such, the WHO has echoed the pleadings of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for clinicians to follow antibiotic guidelines when prescribing antibiotics (eg, starting with broader-spectrum agents first), and to be judicious in determining whether a patient truly needs an antibiotic at all. The CDC has been very vocal in urging antibiotic stewardship, supported by groups like the Urgent Care Association of America and many pharmaceutical companies. Preventing further proliferation of resistant “superbugs” could be lifesaving, literally; the European Food Safety Authority and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control estimates that resistant infection kills roughly 25,000 Europeans annually, while our CDC says they’re responsible for the deaths of at least 23,000 Americans annually. Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, the recently retired director of the agency, called drug-resistant superbugs “one of our most serious health threats.”

Drug-Resistant ‘Superbugs’ Are on the Rise
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