Original Article from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
The U.S. lost progress combating antimicrobial resistance in 2020 due, in large part, to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC COVID-19: U.S. Impact on Antimicrobial Resistance, Special Report 2022 [PDF – 44 pages], concluded that the threat of antimicrobial-resistant infections is not only still present but has gotten worse.
During the first year of the pandemic, more than 29,400 people died from antimicrobial-resistant infections commonly associated with healthcare. Of these, nearly 40% of the people got the infection while they were in the hospital.
The total national burden of deaths from antimicrobial resistance may be much higher, but data gaps caused by the pandemic hinder that analysis. CDC is missing data for nine of the 18 pathogens listed in its 2019 AR Threats Report. CDC’s 2019 estimates are still the strongest data to show the U.S. burden of antimicrobial resistance—at least 2.8 million antimicrobial-resistant infections continue to occur in the U.S. each year and more than 35,000 people die as a result.
In the 2019 AR Threats Report, CDC reported that nationwide investments in prevention drove down deaths from antimicrobial-resistant infections by 18% from 2012 through 2017. CDC data show these reductions continued until 2020. But the pandemic resulted in more resistant infections, increased antibiotic use, and less data and prevention actions.
This setback can and must be temporary. If properly resourced, the U.S. can continue to build resilient public health and healthcare systems to keep our nation safe from antimicrobial resistance.
COVID-19 Impact on Healthcare Facilities & Community Settings
U.S. healthcare facilities saw more healthcare-associated, antimicrobial-resistant infections, especially in hospitals. Hospitals treated sicker patients who required more frequent and longer use of medical devices like catheters and ventilators. Hospitals also experienced personal protective equipment supply challenges, staffing shortages, and longer patient visits.
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COVID-19 Impact Report
In communities, CDC has limited data for the spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, like drug-resistant gonorrhea and foodborne germs.
Many of the nation’s efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance also helped prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes CDC investments in infection prevention and control, training, surveillance, and public health personnel, such as:
Original article published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)