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Federal disease control experts are giving $67 million to help state and local health departments fight antibiotic resistant bacteria and other health safety threats.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the antibiotic resistance research funding initiative on July 27, as part of the CDC’s Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement.
The funds will help health departments nationwide, including all 50 states and local health departments of Chicago, the District of Columbia, Houston, Los Angeles County, New York City, Philadelphia and Puerto Rico. It will focus on antibiotic resistance as well as other patient safety threats, including healthcare associated infections.
The funding will support activities related to CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Solutions Initiative, and will also support seven regional laboratories that have specialized capabilities for rapid detection and identification of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The labs are located in Maryland, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, New York, Washington state and Wisconsin.
The CDC says the funding would allow every state health department to test for cabapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, which has a 50% fatality rate and was called an emerging threat by the CDC in 2015.
The funds will help those conducting whole genome sequencing on intestinal bacteria, including E. Coli,Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter. It will also help departments identify and respond faster to outbreaks, and rapidly identify known markers of antibiotic resistance.
The threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has many health officials concerned as the use of antibiotics rises, which is believed to be contributing to the creation of so-called superbugs. A British study published in 2014 concluded antibiotic-resistant bacteria could kill 10 million people every year by the year 2050 unless drastic measures are taken to fight the superbugs.
The CDC is providing support for antimicrobial resistance programs in six states. The CDC specifically wants rapid response teams in nine different health departments looking for, and responding to, antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea.
The agency also outlined how the funds will expand existing capabilities to track infections in healthcare settings, protect patients, offer targeted prevention, and help increase medical care coordination. In addition, it will help strengthen foodborne disease tracking, investigation and prevention.