U.S. Action to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

A National Priority

Antibiotic resistance is a national priority, and the U.S. government has taken ambitious steps to fight this threat. For example, it established a U.S. National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (National Strategy) and an accompanying U.S. National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (National Action Plan).

Federal agencies are working together to:

  • Respond to new and ongoing public health threats
  • Strengthen detection of resistance
  • Enhance efforts to slow the emergence and spread of resistance
  • Improve antibiotic use and reporting
  • Advance development of rapid diagnostics
  • Enhance infection control measures
  • Accelerate research on new antibiotics and antibiotic alternatives

Key U.S. Actions: 2013 to present


  • CDC released the first AR Threats Report to look at the burden and threats to human health posed by antibiotic resistance in the U.S., which brought attention to the threat and prompted government and industry leaders to take immediate action


  • The White House released the National Strategy
  • The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released a report on combating antibiotic resistance with key recommendations
  • The president issued Executive Order 13676 directing federal agencies to implement the recommendations in the PCAST report and establishing two bodies:
    • Interagency Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, which is made up of U.S. federal government agencies tasked to implement the National Action Plan and chaired by the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, and Defense
    • Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB), which is made up of voting members from non-governmental agencies
  • The Global Health Security Agenda, which includes an “action package” on antibiotic resistance, was launched to advance a world safe and secure from infectious disease threats
  • CDC published Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs, followed by guidance for other settings


  • The White House:
    • Hosted the Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship
    • Released a five-year National Action Plan, outlining steps for implementing the National Strategy
    • Established PACCARB
  • Congress appropriated funds to support the implementation of activities laid out in the National Action Plan


  • U.S. government participated in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance, where nations passed a resolution to combat antibiotic resistance worldwide
  • CDC established AR Lab Network to support nationwide lab capacity and funded local antibiotic resistance experts in every state, major cities, and Puerto Rico
  • CDC awarded first innovation funding ($40M) to academic, industry, and healthcare investigators, including CDC’s Prevention Epicenters Program
  • CDC launched the Antimicrobial Use and Resistance Module to report and analyze antibiotic use in healthcare facilities through the National Healthcare Safety Network (a national healthcare infection tracking system)


  • The president issued an Executive Order to continue advisory committees, including the PACCARB, reflecting the administration’s commitment to combating antibiotic resistance
  • CDC added the National Tuberculosis Molecular Surveillance Center to AR Lab Network
  • FDA released Veterinary Feed Directive to help ensure antibiotics are only used to treat and prevent infections in food animals


  • U.S. government participated in the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting, which covered topics related to antibiotic resistance
  • U.S. government launched The AMR Challenge, a year-long campaign spearheaded by CDC to encourage global organizations to make formal commitments that further the progress against resistance
  • CDC co-hosted a forum around antibiotic resistant in the environment (e.g., water, soil) and the potential effect on human health, resulting in a published report titled Initiatives for Addressing Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment
  • CDC released the Containment Strategy to help stop the spread of new or emerging resistance


  • PulseNet laboratories transitioned to whole genome sequencing for foodborne germs
  • U.S. government, spearheaded by CDC and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, concluded The AMR Challenge with more than 350 partner commitments worldwide
  • CDC published the second AR Threats Report


  • The White House released the National Action Plan, 2020-2025, with coordinated, strategic actions to improve the health and well-being of all Americans by changing the course of antibiotic resistance across the One Health spectrum.