Deadly superbugs pose greater threat than previously estimated

A CDC report released Wednesday found that drug-resistant bacteria and fungi, along with heavy use of antibiotics, fuel nearly 3.1 million infections with 48,700 deaths every year in the United States.

A CDC report released Wednesday found that drug-resistant bacteria and fungi, along with heavy use of antibiotics, fuel nearly 3.1 million infections with 48,700 deaths every year in the United States. The toll from so-called superbugs is greater than previously known, according to the report. Bacteria, fungi, and other germs that have developed a resistance to antibiotics and other drugs pose one of the gravest public health challenges and a baffling problem for modern medicine. Scientists, doctors and public health officials have warned of this threat for decades, and the new report reveals the top dangers and troubling trends. More pathogens are developing new ways of fending off drugs designed to kill them, and infections are spreading more widely outside of hospitals. No new classes of antibiotics have been introduced in more than 30 years. Hospitals have improved their methods for tracking and slowing the spread of resistant germs, and deaths from superbug infections there have decreased by nearly 30% since 2013. However, the report identified 18 bacteria and fungi of concern, and new bugs are emerging rapidly. "A lot of progress has been made, but the bottom line is that antibiotic resistance is worse than we previously thought," said Michael Craig, CDC's senior adviser on antibiotic resistance.