Antibiotics have been used since the 1940s to treat diseases and reduce illness and death from infectious bacteria. Over many years, infectious organisms have adapted to the drugs, which makes the antibiotics less effective at preventing illness.

Quick Statistics

  • At least 2 million people a year become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • Each year, at least 23,000 people die from these diseases.
  • Diseases include the common cold, strep throat, the flu, and food poisoning.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic Resistance is the ability for microbes to resist drugs. As a result, the infectious bacteria is not killed and they continue to grow.

What happens when people are resistant to antibiotics?

  • Recovery may take longer.
  • Medical expenses increase.
  • Death may result from the infection.

What happens if I am resistant to antibiotics?

If you are resistant to an antibiotic, a doctor may prescribe a second- or third-choice treatment for your disease. The alternative drugs may be more toxic, less effective, and more expensive.

How can I fight resistance?

Avoid infections in the first place by:

High Risk Groups

  • Chemotherapy patients
  • People who have received complex surgeries such as joint replacements or cardiac bypass
  • People with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Patients who receive dialysis
  • People with organ or bone marrow transplants

Antibiotic Safety

  • Stop taking antibiotics and contact your physician if you experience any negative side effects.
  • Only take antibiotics prescribed to you.
  • Take antibiotics as directed by your physician to reduce the likelihood of developing a resistance.

For more information on antibiotic resistance and how the CDC is fighting it, visit www.cdc.gov/drugresistance.