“If we don't act now, our medicine cabinet will be empty and we won't have the antibiotics we need to save lives,” warned CDC director Tom Frieden.
The center estimates that 23,000 Americans die each year due to bacteria already resistant to even the most potent forms of the medicine.
It warns that patients need to understand that antibiotics are not the solution to every illness, and that half of the prescriptions written for them by doctors are not necessary.
Pressure is also mounting for the FDA to ban feeding antibiotics to livestock simply to fatten them up.
The CDC says such use is not necessary “and the practice should be phased out.”
Some farmers argue that when livestock are crammed into huge feedlots, antibiotics keep them from getting infections from other animals.
Photo: National Helath Service (UK)