Drug-resistant infections, deaths increased in 2020

US health authorities recently reported that drug-resistant infections increased in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report comes from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He said there had been an increase in hospital infections and deaths in 2020.

Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, a CDC expert, called it ” surprising reversal” which he hopes will be a one-year event.

CDC officials believe there were several reasons for the rise. One was how COVID-19 was handled when it first emerged in the United States in early 2020.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs when organisms like bacteria and fungi acquire the ability to resist drugs that were designed to kill them. The misuse of antibiotics was a major reason for the increase, officials said. Unfinished or useless prescriptions that does not kill microorganisms makes them stronger.

Prior to the pandemic, health officials said drug-resistant infections in the United States appeared to be declining. Deaths fell from around 44,000 in 2012 to 36,000 in 2017, a drop of 18%. The government has credited hospitals for the careful use of antibiotics and for separating patients who may be spreading infections.

The CDC does not have 2020 data for all infectious diseases. But it does contain information on seven types of bacterial and fungal infections that have been found in hospitalized patients. They include MRSA and a bacteria called CRE, known as “nightmare bacteria”.

The CDC has reported increases of 15% or more in infections and deaths from this group of microorganisms.

From March to October 2020, nearly 80% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 received an antibiotic, CDC officials said. The use of certain types of antibiotics has increased as doctors have used many different types of drugs to fight both the coronavirus and any bacterial co-infections.

In 2021, the use of antibiotics has dropped. Dr. Srinivasan noted that the use of catheters, fans and other medical devices could also fail. These devices are used on very sick patients and may be a way for drug-resistant microbes to enter patients’ bodies.

Any increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations — such as is currently seen in the United States — increases that risk, he said.

I am Jonathan Evans.

Mike Stobbe reported this story for The Associated Press. Jonathan Evans adapted this story for Learning English.

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words in this story

surprising –adj. very surprising or shocking

reversal -not. a change to an opposite state or situation

prescription -not. a written message from a doctor that officially tells someone to use a drug

catheter -not. (medical) a tub that directly injects a drug or liquid into the body

fan -not. (medical) a device to help a person breathe

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