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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Scientists Detail Pathways for Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance

Researchers must address the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance and stay ahead of the inevitable future emergencies of resistant bacteria, according to physicians and scientists at NIAID. Writing in the Sept. 20 issue of JAMA, the authors stress the urgent need for new strategies to identify and develop new antibiotic drug candidates and vaccines and other interventions to prevent bacterial infections.

In the United States, antimicrobial-resistant bacteria cause more than 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year, resulting in an estimated $20 billion in excess medical spending. Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing practices in human medicine, agricultural use of antibiotics to promote animal growth and challenging bacterial genetic characteristics have contributed to the resistance problem, the authors write.

The authors emphasize that certain of these issues are already being addressed through public education campaigns. However, they should be augmented by proven public health initiatives such as vaccination against bacterial infections and expanded access to clean water and sanitation.

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