Threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs grows

By Ilene MacDonald

Dangerous and often deadly infections that are resistant to antibiotics are considered the "health crisis of this generation."

Indeed, at least two million Americans each year come down with these superbugs and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections.

Recent research finds that superbugs are responsible for as many as half of post-surgical infections and a quarter of post-chemotherapy infections. The world-wide problem is due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics, researchers say.

Superbugs linked to medical scopes also made headlines this year due to a design flaw that made the equipment difficult to clean.

In response, the White House administration outlined an aggressive plan to invest in new diagnostics and antibiotics, improve existing antibiotic use and reduce the most dangerous superbug infection rates over a five-year period.

Just last week Congress approved $375 million in additional funds to fight superbugs. Most of those funds will go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help state and local health authorities improve their response to potential outbreaks and to the National Institutes of Health to research antimicrobial resistance.

Threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs grows