Food & Agriculture

Consumer, Public Health Groups Ask CDC Not to Downplay Risks Associated with Antibiotic Resistance

CFA joined members of the Keep Antibiotics Working coalition in submitting the following letter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, asking him to improve the agency’s risk communication on antibiotic resistant foodborne pathogens. Currently, CDC’s reporting on foodborne illness outbreaks includes—appropriately—information on the antibiotic resistance of outbreak isolates. Some recent reports, however, have inappropriately downplayed the risks associated with the identified resistance. The letter urges CDC to include warnings for at-risk populations in future reporting on outbreaks caused by antibiotic resistant pathogens. For example, outbreak reports should warn people who have recently taken a course of antibiotics, who are more susceptible to infection from an antibiotic-resistant organism. The letter also asks CDC to describe the additional risks that antibiotic-resistant pathogens present to all consumers, and to provide more precise information on the treatment implications of an outbreak strain’s resistance to certain antibiotics.

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