December 14, 2017

CDC Investing Millions in Enhanced Antibiotic Resistance Testing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investing $77 million in efforts to track and fight antibiotic resistance. The money is going to public health departments in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The hope is that officials will develop new ways to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria in food, healthcare facilities, and communities.

Petri Dish

The funding will open a new surveillance center for TB. And the overall focus is on enhancing testing capabilities in the agency’s regional antibiotic resistance labs.

Seven regional labs that are part of the CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network will be able to expand antibiotic susceptibility testing for Candida auras. This bacteria has shown resistance to all three classes of drugs that are usually used to fight these infections. The bacteria can cause invasive infections with mortality rates as high as 50%.

Dr. Jean Patel, the CDC’s science lead for antibiotic resistance told CIDRAP News, “We’ve asked this year that all of the seven regional laboratories be able to do Candida¬†antibiotic susceptibility testing, and that means we do the kind of testing necessary to find the right drug for treatment, and to look for new types of resistance.”

Overall, the CDC has awarded more than $200 million to help states, cities, counties, and territories prevent, detect, respond to, and control this growing threat. CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D. said, “More than 23,000 people in the United States die each year from infections caused by antibiotic resistance. CDC is committed to helping states and cities strengthen their ability to combat antibiotic resistance, and these funds will help state efforts to keep people safe.”

The work this money funds will build on the success of PulseNet. That laboratory network connects foodborne illness cases to detect outbreaks. Every state public health law will now work toward performing whole genome sequencing (WGS) on food and waterborne bacteria, including Salmonella, Shigella, and Campylobacter.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria have been involved in many of the major multistate food poisoning outbreaks in the United States in the past few years. In fact, the CDC states that antibiotic resistant Salmonella alone causes 6,200 illnesses every year in this country. For instance, the 2015 Salmonella outbreak linked to pork from Kapowsin Meats in Washington state sickened at least 192 people. The bacteria in that outbreak was antibiotic resistant.

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