The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is going to spend $67,000,000 to help fight the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That money will go to health departments across the country in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and to local health departments in six major cities. Those six cities include New York City, Houston, Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. The money will be available to jurisdictions starting today, August 1, 2016.
That money will help labs test for multidrug-resistant bacteria and will aid in whole genome sequencing (WGS) of Salmonella, Shigella, and other intestinal bacteria. Officials hope that this funding and new testing will help the government respond more quickly to food poisoning outbreaks.
That funding will also help support seven regional labs, located in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, New York, Maryland, Tennessee, and Texas. Those labs are working to rapidly detect and identify emerging antibiotic resistant threats, conduct special threat assessments, and track changes in antibiotic resistance.
Dr. Ruth Lynfield, Minnesota state epidemiologist and medical director at the Minnesota Department of Health told the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, “Having this antibiotic resistance lab network, with regional labs that work together with the CDC, is fantastic. This is something that people have wanted for a long time.” She added, “if you can’t detect, and be able to follow trends, it really is challenging to get a sense of what the problem is and how effective your interventions are.”
The Obama administration’s 2015 National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria had as one of its goals creating a regional laboratory network. Strengthening the nation’s ability to detect resistant bacteria is a crucial part of fighting foodborne illness which sickens millions of Americans every year, hospitalizes thousands, and kills hundreds. In addition, the money will provide increased support for PulseNet and OutbreakNet and more support for the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS).
The funding will expand the government’s ability to track and protect patients from infections in healthcare facilities and also strengthen state’s abilities to track foodborne illness. Antibiotic resistant bacteria cause 2,000,000 illnesses every year and are responsible for 23,000 deaths in America.