UNITED STATES -- The overuse of antibiotics has caused three kinds of bacteria to become urgent health threats in the United States, federal health officials said Monday.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has categorized the threats posed by germs in order of importance, from urgent, to serious, to concerning.
The report also classifies so-called superbugs, saying they cause at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths each year.
On the urgent list:
Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae – a bacteria that cause 9,000 infections in hospitals and other health-care facilities each year. Nearly half of hospital patients who get CRE bloodstream infections die from them.
Drug-resistant gonorrhea -- a sexually transmitted infection that now resists several antibiotics that used to cure it
Clostridium difficile -- a serious diarrhea-causing infection that is not highly resistant to antibiotics but does thrive when antibiotics are over-used. The bacteria cause 250,000 infections and 14,000 deaths each year.