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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Monday that finds that 23,000 Americans die every year from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Two million fall ill because of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but only 23,000 actually die from it, The New York Times reports. The numbers are lower than early estimates, because the CDC took out cases where the cause of death wasn't likely because of the resistant infections.
Dr. Stuart Levy, a professor of microbiology at Tufts University and the president of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics said, "They have come up with hard numbers where it has only been guesswork."
CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden told CBS News, "If we're not careful, the medicine chest will be empty when we go there to look for a lifesaving antibiotic for someone with a deadly infection. If we act now, we can preserve these medications while we continue to work on lifesaving medications."
In 2012, the World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan noted that she was worried that bacteria would evolve to be resistant to current medical treatments due to the overuse of antibiotics.
The CDC estimates that about 50 percent of the antibiotics prescribed are done so incorrectly. Some doctors, like pediatricians, are asking doctors to reduce the prescribing of antibiotics, except in cases where it's needed, such as ear infections and sinusitis.
Frieden also said that hospitals are where the most antibiotic-resistant germs are found and that antimicrobial stewardship programs need to be used more often.
image: Wikimedia Commons