Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Antibiotic-resistant (AR) bacteria and fungi cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths annually in the U.S., according to new estimates posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a long-awaited report. But, while the overall numbers are "higher than previously estimated," the number of people dying from AR infections appears to be dropping.

Expand chart
The five most urgent out of 18 threats of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and fungi pointed out in the CDC's report. Data: 2019 AR Threats Report; Images: CDC; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
"A death from antibiotic resistant infections occurs every 15 minutes and new infections happen every 11 seconds. ... Antibiotic resistance remains a persistent enemy ... we must remain vigilant."
— Robert Redfield, CDC director, at a press briefing

Background: The "Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States" report is the CDC's first major update since 2013. At that time, the three most "urgent" threats were Clostridioides difficile, Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae. There were another 12 "serious" threats and three "concerning" threats.

  • The 2013 report estimated that 2 million Americans were infected with antibiotic resistant germs annually, leading to at least 23,000 deaths.
  • But, for the 2019 report, the CDC used electronic health records from more than 700 geographically diverse, acute-care hospitals.
  • Using those new data sources, CDC "looked back" at 2013's original "conservative" data and revised estimates to 2.6 million infections and 44,000 deaths.
  • Of note: Neither report contains viruses or parasites.

What's new: Overall, 2019's results are mixed. There's a growing number of AR bacteria and fungi that the CDC calls greatly concerning; but there's also a lower number of deaths from these infections.

  • There are now five "urgent" threats — the three listed in 2013, plus two new ones: Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter and Candida auris.
  • The CDC also lists 11 "serious" threats, two "concerning" threats, and three on its watch list.

By the numbers, per CDC: AR bacteria and fungi currently cause more than 2.8 million infections and 35,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

  • Since 2013, CDC says prevention efforts have reduced deaths from AR infections by 18% overall, and nearly 30% in hospitals.
  • But, when adding in Clostridioides difficile, a bacteria not typically considered AR but associated with antibiotic use, the current total reaches more than 3 million infections and 48,000 deaths per year.
  • Resistance to essential antibiotics is increasing in seven of the 18 germs.
  • Some good news: Infections from CRE, dubbed the "nightmare bacteria" — as it kills almost half of patients with bloodstream infections — remained stable despite the speed with which the deadly germ can spread. This showcases that improvements have made, partly from CDC's containment strategy, Arjun Srinivasan, associate director of CDC's HAI prevention programs, tells Axios.

What we're watching: There are some new threats CDC flagged.

1. Emerging threats: Bacteria and fungus evolve quickly, presenting new challenges. One is antibiotic resistant C. auris, a fungus that popped up as a problem a couple years ago in several countries simultaneously — an "unusual occurrence," Redfield says.

  • Scientists continue their efforts to determine how and why this form of C. auris emerged, as well as its root cause, Michael Craig, of the CDC's antibiotic resistance coordination and strategy unit, told the press in a briefing.
"Candida auris is a great contemporary example of the challenges from antibiotic resistant infections [that are] emerging. ... We didn't even know about it when we put out our report in 2013."
— Michael Craig

2. Community infections: The CDC is also concerned about the rising number of infections seen in outpatient care and within communities, Srinivasan says, like those associated with drug-resistant gonorrhea and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

  • One of the problems is that Enterobacteriaceae can transfer resistance to other members of its "family," including common infections like yeast infections and urinary tract infections.

The big picture: While improvements have been made, particularly in some hospital settings, overall antibiotic resistance and infections are spreading rapidly with new threats emerging. The CDC is calling for more vigilance and appropriate antibiotic use.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases hold steady at 65,000 per day — CDC declares racism "a serious public health threat" — WHO official: Brazil is dealing with "raging inferno" of a COVID outbreak
  2. Vaccines: America may be close to hitting a vaccine wall — Pfizer asks FDA to expand COVID vaccine authorization to adolescents — CDC says Johnson & Johnson vaccine supply will drop 80% next week.
  3. Economy: Treasury says over 156 million stimulus payments sent out since March — More government spending expected as IMF projects 6% global GDP growth.
  4. Politics: Supreme Court ends California's coronavirus restrictions on home religious meetings
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Second senior Matt Gaetz aide resigns amid federal investigation

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) walking out of the Capitol in January 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Devin Murphy, Rep. Matt Gaetz's legislative director, has stepped down amid a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against the Florida Republican congressman, the New York Times first reported and Axios has confirmed.

The latest: "It's been real," Murphy wrote in an email, obtained by Axios, to Republican legislative directors on Saturday morning, with the subject line: "Well...bye."

Rep. Dan Crenshaw says he'll be blind for a month after eye surgery

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) in Washington, D.C., in December 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said in a statement Saturday he will be blind for roughly a month after getting surgery to reattach the retina in left eye.

Why it matters: Crenshaw, who lost his right eye and sustained severe damage to his left eye during his third deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, said he will be "pretty much off the grid for the next few weeks."