Facts About Antibiotic Resistance
•Infections caused by resistant bacteria can strike anyone—the young and the old, the healthy and the chronically ill. Antibiotic resistance also is a serious problem for patients whose immune systems are compromised, such as people with HIV/AIDS and patients in critical care units.
•About 2 million people acquire bacterial infections in U.S. hospitals each year, and 90,000 die as a result. About 70 percent of those infections are resistant to at least one drug, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
•The total cost of antimicrobial resistance to U.S. society is nearly $5 billion annually, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Treating resistant pathogens often requires more expensive drugs and extended hospital stays.
•IOM and federal agencies have identified antibiotic resistance and the dearth of antibiotic R&D as increasing threats to public health.
•Staphylococcus aureus(staph) is a common cause of hospital infections that can spread to the heart, bones, lungs, and bloodstream with fatal results. In 2002, 57.1 percent (an estimated 102,000 cases) of the staph bacteria found in U.S. hospitals were methicillin-resistant (MRSA), according to CDC.
•Staph infections (even those that are not drug-resistant) can be deadly and costly. A 2000-2001 analysis of U.S. hospitalizations found that staph infections caused 12,000 deaths and $9.5 billion in hospital costs each year, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (Noskin GA et al).
•Although MRSA used to be limited primarily to hospital patients, it is becoming increasingly common in the broader community. A study of children with community-acquired staph infections at the University of Texas found nearly 70 percent infected with MRSA. In a 2002 outbreak, 235 MRSA infections were reported among military recruits at a training facility in the southeastern United States. In addition, 12,000 cases of community-acquired MRSA were found in three correctional facilities in Georgia, California, and Texas between 2001 and 2003.
•Since 2000, CDC has reported outbreaks of MRSA among athletes, including college football players in Pennsylvania, wrestlers in Indiana, and a fencing club in Colorado. In September of 2003, this issue was brought to national attention when MRSA broke out in Florida among the Miami Dolphins, sending two players to the hospital for treatment.
•Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) can cause wound infections, infections in blood, the urinary tract and heart, and life-threatening infections for hospital patients. In 2002, 27.5 percent (an estimated 26,000 cases) of tested enterococci samples from ICUs were resistant to vancomycin, according to CDC.
•The percentage of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria resistant to either ciprofloxacin or ofloxacin, two common antibiotics of the fluoroquinolone class (FQRP), has increased dramatically. Recent CDC data show that in 2002, nearly 33 percent of tested samples from ICUs were resistant to fluoroquinolones. P. aeruginosa causes infections of the urinary tract, lungs, and wounds and other infections commonly found in intensive care units.