Superbugs an Increasing Threat to Human Life

Someone in the United States dies every 15 minutes from an antibiotic-resistant germ

November 15, 2019

If anyone in the cleaning industry ever doubted the importance of cleaning for health, a report on the threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week highlights the importance of vigilance in eliminating pathogens.

According the CDC, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi are responsible for more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the United States each year. Putting this in perspective, on average someone in the United States gets an antibiotic-resistant infection every 11 seconds and someone dies from an antibiotic-resistant infection every 15 minutes. When Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) is added to the statistics, the numbers increase to 3 million infections a year and about 48,000 deaths.

C. diff, a bacterium which is not typically resistant to antibiotics but is often associated with medication use, is one of the five superbugs on the CDC’s urgent threat list. The four other superbugs include carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter, and the fungus Candida auris . The CDC added the last two superbugs to the list this year.

The report notes that while superbug infections in hospitals and other health care facilities have decreased, the infections caught elsewhere in the community have increased. Some superbugs circulating in the community are sharing their resistance genes with each other, creating even stronger pathogens.

Infection control specialists say the answer to the superbug crisis is not creating more powerful antibiotics, as the creation and approval process for new drugs is slow, and evolving germs will eventually render the antibiotics useless. Instead, people in the medical and infection control industry need to adopt aggressive strategies that keep the germs away and infections from occurring in the first place.

Learn how the application of science-based cleaning and disinfection can help combat superbugs and other infections at an educational session and workshop given by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC)at ISSA Show North America 2019, next week in Las Vegas.


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