CDC: Superbugs kill 35K a year

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that more than 35,000 people are killed annually by antibiotic-resistant infections, or "superbugs."

"More than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the United States each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result," the agency said in its annual "Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States" report released this week. 

CDC Director Robert R. Redfield also warned that we are living in a "post-antibiotic era" in which "some miracle drugs no longer perform miracles" in a foreword accompanying the report.

The report identifies 18 germs it categorized into three levels: "urgent," "serious," and "concerning." Five of the germs are considered "urgent" threats. 

It also lists three threats that are uncommon but have the potential "to spread across borders and cause significant morbidity and mortality." 

The CDC began publishing reports on antibiotic resistance threats in 2013. Revised estimates show that at that time, nearly 44,000 deaths occurred yearly due to antibiotic-resistant infections. 

The CDC noted that deaths from superbugs have declined, but antibiotic resistance in the U.S. is still too high.

"Deaths decreased by 18 percent since the 2013 report. This suggests that prevention efforts in hospitals are working," the 2019 report said. "Yet the number of people facing antibiotic resistance in the United States is still too high."