U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Sunday called for faster action to control the spread of antimicrobial resistance, or AMR, and called on federal and state leaders to work with researchers, health providers and the public to train doctors and promote better hygiene.
“The numbers and the seriousness of the problem demand a drastic shift in how we approach this challenge,” Adams said during a speech at the National Association of State Public Health Officers conference in Washington. “America is not immune from the extraordinary threat we face from AMR. It is a threat that threatens to undermine our very way of life and threatens to result in the loss of life, literally, of millions of Americans.”
AMS is a threat that threatens to undermine our very way of life and threatens to result in the loss of life, literally, of millions of Americans. – U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams
OMR is a process by which bacteria can develop antimicrobial resistance, or antimicrobial resistance, the ability to fight medication. While the bacteria are still there when medicine is administered, the degree of their resistance increases over time. When AMR is left untreated, it can lead to certain types of antibiotic-resistant infections, which can be more difficult and ultimately more deadly to treat.
OMR is concentrated in the United States, and there are estimates that more than 300,000 Americans get infection from bacteria that can’t be treated with antibiotics, according to a 2017 study published in JAMA. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated that by 2050, 20 million to 50 million Americans will develop a multi-drug-resistant infection, and it will claim more than 200,000 lives each year.
The spread of AMR has already lead to a major economic burden. The American Society for Microbiology reported in a recent report that antimicrobial resistance costs the nation about $15 billion annually. The report also noted that WHO estimates that AMR could make common treatments unavailable to more than 1 billion people globally, starting around 2060.
Adams, whose term as surgeon general began in 2017, said it is imperative to start addressing the problem now.
“While AMR presents the ultimate challenge to human health, the convergence of business, policy and culture around AMR is significant,” he said. “America must take a more active leadership role to accelerate the pursuit of a solution by increasing research, promoting individual changes, and identifying real and achievable opportunities for public health, fiscal and cultural change.”
Adams said that the federal government must support efforts to increase research funding, and he suggested that expanding national research goals to capture different types of AMR could be done through a pilot program. He also spoke about investments that could bolster infrastructure like labs and offices at community health centers to help physicians see how patients are doing when returning from an antibiotic prescription.