World Health Organization (WHO) shows the urgent need for a coordinated global response

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Contact: Media Relations, Office of Communication
(404) 639-3286

This week’s report on worldwide antibiotic resistance by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows the urgent need for a coordinated global response.

The WHO report reinforces and extends globally CDC’s call to action, Antibiotic Threats in the United States 2013. High rates of antibiotic resistance are present around the world. There already are parts of the world where half of some common infections do not respond to antibiotic treatments.

Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to global health security. In today’s world, drug-resistant pathogens cross national and continental boundaries at jet speed. No nation’s health is secure if any nation’s health is not secure.

WHO’s recommendations for addressing this critical problem will be discussed at the World Health Assembly in May. These recommendations are completely consistent with the approach recommended in the US government’s Global Health Security Agenda CDC’s global health efforts.

Specific actions to be taken include assisting countries to bolster their capacity to identify and report resistance threats and establish an international communication system to rapidly share information on emerging and growing resistance problems. There is little time to waste.

In the US, CDC plans to launch its Detect and Protect Against Antibiotic Resistance Initiative. The plan, part of the FY 2015 President’s Budget proposal, would:

  • Create a lab network across the U.S. to find drug-resistant microbes faster.
  • CDC would create a resistant-bacteria bank, a collection of samples of resistant bacteria to be made available to researchers seeking to develop new treatments and new diagnostic tests.
  • Create a new public website to show national trends, including variations in antibiotic prescribing among states.
  • Establish antimicrobial-resistance prevention groups comprised of health care facilities to implement best practices for antibiotic prescribing.
  • Target antibiotic-resistant threats in communities, with a particular eye to drug-resistant foodborne Salmonella infections.
  • Improve antibiotic stewardship – that is, closely follow good antibiotic-prescribing practices in every hospital in this country.
  • Launch an antibiotic adverse-event study to learn the long-term health consequences of giving antibiotics to infants and young children.

CDC can help reverse the trend of drug resistance in the United States. Action now can prevent a future in which common infections and many routine surgeries would become life threatening.


Page last reviewed: April 30, 2014