Unrestrained use of antibiotics, in humans and animals, has bred “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics and has triggered infections that sicken at least 2.25 million Americans each year and kill 37,000.
To combat that problem, Consumer Reports has announced its commitment to help rein in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The initiative kicked off with Consumer Reports President and CEO Marta Tellado participating in the White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship.
“Antibiotic-resistant infection is the health crisis of our generation,” Tellado says. “The only way we are going to make progress is by taking bold steps, and we welcome the White House Forum as one of those steps.”
Consumer Reports supports these steps in the fight against superbugs:
- Require hospitals and health-care providers to report antibiotic use and antibiotic-resistant infections.
- Mandatory real-time reporting by hospitals and health care providers of antibiotic-resistant outbreaks.
- Better tests, so doctors can more easily tell which infections are caused by bacteria (which can be cured with antibiotics) and those caused by viruses (which can’t).
- Rigorous pre-market safety tests for new antibiotics.
- A ban on using antibiotics on healthy food animals.
Meanwhile, here are steps you can take to use antibiotics wisely.