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COVID-19 Boosted Antimicrobial Resistance

As more antibiotics are prescribed for human and animal diseases, the more resistant the targeted, adaptive microbes can become. This phenomenon has led to a rise in deaths associated with antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released data on how the AMR threat was impacted by the COVID-19 response.


COVID-19 Boosted Antimicrobial Resistance
  1. The CDC explained that “the response to COVID saw a significant increase in antimicrobial use, difficulty in following infection prevention and control guidance, and a resulting increase in healthcare-associated, antimicrobial-resistant infections in U.S. hospitals.”

  2. In contrast, between 2012 and 2017, due to prevention strategies, deaths from antimicrobial resistance decreased overall by 18% and by nearly 30% in hospitals.

  3. The CDC’s available data during the 2019-2020 COVID-19 timeframe shows at least a 13% to 78% increase in eight types of infections.

  4. In 2020, US hospitals saw significantly higher rates for four out of six types of healthcare-associated infections (HAI), many of which are “resistant to antibiotics or antifungals.”

  5. From March 2020 to October 2020, according to the CDC report, nearly “80% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 received an antibiotic.”

  6. In terms of outpatient settings, antibiotic use significantly dropped in 2020, compared with 2019, due to reductions in outpatient health care. However, outpatient antibiotic use “rebounded” in 2021, the agency said.

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