World leaders partner to combat antibiotic resistance

World leaders partner to combat antibiotic resistance

Small infographic with the words Antibiotic Resistance: How can we stop it? 1. Improve labs 2. Collect and share data 3. Use antibiotics wisely 4. Take measures to prevent infections

In September 2016, world leaders convened at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to discuss one of the biggest threats to global health—antibiotic resistance. All 193 member states signed on to combatting antibiotic resistance through a declaration Cdc-pdf[PDF – 5 pages]External to reverse the devastating trend that has resulted from the inappropriate use of antibiotics. Antibiotics and similar drugs, together called antimicrobial agents, have been used for the last 70 years to treat infectious diseases. Since the 1940s, these drugs have greatly reduced illness and death. They have been used so widely and for so long, however, that the infectious organisms the antibiotics are designed to kill have adapted to them, making the drugs less effective. Each year in the United States, antibiotic-resistant infections cause about 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths.

US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell focused on solutions to the growing crisis by highlighting the critical role of prevention interventions including antibiotic stewardship, infection control, and vaccination. The World Bank presented predictions Cdc-pdf[PDF – 132 pages]External that, by 2050, antibiotic resistance could lead to a 5 percent loss in global GDP and result in 28 million more people in low-income countries pushed into poverty. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden and leaders from CDC’s Office of Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases also met with world leaders at the General Assembly to echo and reinforce the importance of global action to fight antibiotic resistance and the threat it is posing to development goals, modern medicine, and food security.

Other partners, including pharmaceutical companies, signaled their commitment to fighting antibiotic resistance by pledging to reduce the environmental impacts Cdc-pdf[PDF – 7 pages]External of antibiotics while improving the access to and use of antibiotics by populations who need them most. Recognizing the complexity of the problem, world leaders, non-governmental organizations, pharmaceutical corporations, and public health organizations are joining forces to develop multifaceted solutions that will be required to combat the urgent and growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

To learn more about international activities to combat antibiotic resistance, visit