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White House Announces National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

One year ago, CDC issued a landmark report sounding the alarm on the top drug-resistant threats to human health. The announcement this morning of the President’s Executive Order and the National Strategy to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria marks the administration’s response to one of the most urgent health threats facing us today – antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria – germs that don’t respond to the drugs designed to kill them – threaten to return us to the time when simple infections were often fatal. Today, antibiotic-resistant bacteria annually cause a minimum of 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States.

Detecting, preventing and controlling antibiotic resistance requires a coordinated effort. To support the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, CDC is working to address the threat in these four areas:

  1. Slow the development of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections.
  2. Strengthen national one-health surveillance efforts to combat resistance.
  3. Advance development and use of rapid and innovative diagnostic tests for identification and characterization of resistant bacteria.
  4. Improve international collaboration and capacities for antibiotic resistance prevention, surveillance, control and antibiotic research and development.

These important plans are part of CDC's request for $30 million for CDC's Detect and Protect Initiative and $14 million for the National Healthcare Safety Network to combat resistant bacteria. These strategies and the funds needed to implement them are a down-payment to improve our country’s ability to start tackling our biggest drug-resistant threats.

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286


Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

“Every day we don’t act to better protect antibiotics will make it harder and more expensive to address drug resistance in the future. Drug resistance can undermine both our ability to fight infectious diseases and much of modern medicine. Patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, dialysis for renal failure, and increasingly common treatments for diseases such as arthritis depend on antibiotics so common infectious complications can be treated effectively."

“We must be diligent stewards of antibiotics, protecting this precious resource in doctor’s offices, homes, and farms, so that they are available to help us, and our children, in the future."

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Beth Bell, MD, MPH

“The National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria is the President’s serious response to the landmark CDC report sounding the alarm on the top antibiotic resistance threats to human health. This is not a problem we face tomorrow, but something we struggle with today. Lack of action means an exponentially worse problem. The national strategy opens a new chapter in the fight against resistance."

Beth Bell, MD, MPH - Director, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC

Rob Tauxe, MD, MPH

“The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to antibiotic resistance around the world. Antibiotics are commonly used in food animals to prevent, control, and treat disease, and to promote growth in food-producing animals. Farmers and veterinarians can play a role in the fight against resistance by using antibiotics only when they are needed to keep animals healthy.”

Rob Tauxe, MD, MPH - Deputy Director, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC

Arjun Srinivasan, MD

“Antibiotics are miracle drugs, and are life-saving for patients with severe infections and sepsis. However, if we don’t work to preserve the power of antibiotics we could find ourselves back in time when simple infections are once again deadly.”

Arjun Srinivasan, MD - Associate Director for Healthcare Associated Infection Prevention Programs, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC

Lauri Hicks, DO

“As many as 5 out of 10 people who visit their doctor’s office for an infection, like a cold, will walk out with an antibiotic even though it is completely ineffective. Antibiotics aren’t always the answer. Prescribing antibiotics for viral infections, like colds, flu, and most sore throats is the most common misuse of these drugs.”

Lauri Hicks, DO - Medical Epidemiologist and Director of Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work, Respiratory Diseases Branch, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC

Jean Patel, PhD, D(ABMM)

“We need to keep pace with rapidly mutating bacteria. Bringing better diagnostic tests to doctors and nurses will be critical to ensure that resistant infections are quickly recognized and treated. CDC’s new regional lab network and resistant-bacteria bank will speed up outbreak detection and support the development of new antibiotics and diagnostics.”

Jean Patel, PhD, D(ABMM) - Deputy Director, Office of Antimicrobial Resistance, National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, CDC

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