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CDC warns of ‘super bugs’ immune to antibiotics

The Centers for Disease Control issued a warning about the rise in "super bugs" that cause 23,000 deaths every year.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The Centers for Disease Control issued a warning about the rise in "super bugs" that cause 23,000 deaths every year.

For the first time, the CDC is classifying dangerous bacteria in three categories: urgent, serious, and concerning.

In a new report, the CDC found that up to half of the antibiotics prescribed to people are unnecessary. Researchers also believe the use of antibiotics to treat farm animals is often inappropriate.

Excessive exposure to antibiotics through food supplies and medication has allowed bacteria to develop a resistance to the drugs, according to the CDC study.

A local physician isn't surprised that patients are quick to ask for antibiotics, but he wishes more doctors would resist.

“They are requesting something to make them feel better and they assume the antibiotic is what is going to do the job," said Dr. Luis Castro with Westside Family Health Center

According to the CDC, every year more than 2-million Americans develop drug-resistant infections.

"We risk entering a post-antibiotic era, where even simple infections can be deadly," said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC.

Three bacterias are now considered public health threats that require urgent and aggressive action.

1 - Clostridium Difficile, commonly referred to as C-Diff, causes life threatening diarrhea. The CDC says it infects 250,000 and kills 14,000 people a year; totaling more than a billion dollars in expenses.

2 - Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, a cluster of stomach bugs known as CRE, causes 9,000 infections each year that are resistant to nearly all available antibiotics, leading to 600 deaths annually.

3 - Drug-Resistant Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea, is responsible for 250,000 drug-resistant infections a year, which is nearly a third of all cases reported.

Dr. Castro says he tries to avoid prescribing antibiotics when possible. Last month - one insurance provider started sending lists of his antibiotic prescriptions - questioning if they were necessary.

"If the patient has a drug-resistant organism, the antibiotics that we need to use are much more expensive,” explained Dr. Castro. “Often times, they have to be given by IV which is very expensive to dispense, typically in the hospital."

It’s a trend that's pushing providers to balance out the pressure from patients.

You can find a link to all the drug resistant bacteria on the list complied by the CDC here.

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