The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that germs with an “unusual” resistance to antibiotics were found more than 220 in the US last year. The discoveries were made by the agency’s Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Lab Network, which says these germs have genes that are atypically resistant to antibiotic treatments. Identifying the germs is part of the CDC’s effort to curb antibiotic resistance.
The AR Lab Network reports more than 220 instances of these germs, which the agency’s Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, MD, describes as “dangerous pathogens, hiding in plain sight.”
If that sounds scary, it is, but you don’t have to panic. The CDC has a solid containment strategy that attempts to stomp on any potential issues before they can grow, keeping the resistant pathogens from spreading. That strategy includes things like identifying asymptomatic patients who may carry the germs (and spread them), assessing ways to control the infection, and more.
According to a recent report from the agency, health facilities that found unusual resistance in germs were able to act on that info within 48 hours, finding that no additional transmission happened after several weeks. “It’s reassuring to see that state and local experts, using our containment strategy, identified and stopped these resistant bacteria before they had the opportunity to spread,” said Schuchat.
Of note, the AR Lab Network found that 1 in 4 germ samples it received had unique genes enabling those germs to spread antibiotic resistance to other germs. As well, researchers found that these resistant germs could spread from asymptomatic patients easily, making it possible for the pathogens to spread through a health care facility without detection.
However, the CDC’s containment strategy has been found effective at dealing with this. According to the agency, the strategy could eliminate up to 1,600 infections in three years in a single state, which would represent a 76% reduction. The CDC provides an overview on containing unusual antibiotic resistance here.