White House "superbug" plan has five-year goal

The White House plan to fight antibiotic resistance includes adding $1.2 billion to the government's efforts to curtail deadly “superbug” infections within five years, investing in new diagnostics and improving the use of antibiotics, reported Reuters.

The plan, called the National Action Plan for Reducing Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, was released Friday. The effort includes initiatives to reduce livestock antibiotic use. The Wall Street Journal noted they are often deployed to help animals gain weight.

Reaction to date has been mixed. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) told Politico the livestock initiative does not have enough teeth to make a difference, while antibiotic resistance researcher and Boston University law professor Kevin Outterson told The Wall Street Journal that the plan represents “the boldest move against antibiotic resistance by any US administration ever.”

Livestock antibiotic use has been linked to antibiotic resistance in humans and estimates indicate that animal antibiotics account for most antibiotic use. Slaughter told Politico it accounts for 75% of antibiotic use in the US; the Natural Resources Defense Council interest group puts the figure at closer to 80%.

Reuters said the plan includes using the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to reduce Clostridium difficile infections by half, reducing carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections by 60% and lowering Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections by at least 50%.


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