White House responds to threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Following a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report last year on the top drug-resistant threats to human health, President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Thursday creating a task force to develop a national strategy to combat antibiotic-resistance bacteria.

The task force, which will include representatives from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the Department of Defense and the Department of Agriculture, is part of Obama's five-year plan to prevent and contain outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as create the next generation of tests, antibiotics and vaccines.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are germs that do not respond to the drugs designed to kill them. They cause approximately 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths annually in the United States.

The CDC is addressing the threat in four areas: slowing the development of resistant bacteria and preventing the spread of the resistant infections, strengthening the national one-health surveillance efforts to combat resistance, advancing development and use of rapid diagnostic tests for identification and characterization of resistant bacteria and improving international collaboration and capacities for antibiotic-resistance prevention, surveillance, control and research and development.

To support these plans, the CDC has requested $44 million from the federal government.

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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