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Antibiotic Resistance: Additional Federal Actions Needed to Better Determine Magnitude and Reduce Impact
Bacterial infections have become more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat due to antibiotic resistance, which occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat the available drugs designed to kill them. Concerns about rising rates of resistance to available treatment options prompted the federal government to create the 5-year National Action Plan in 2015. The plan called for federal agencies to strengthen surveillance, advance the development of diagnostic tests and new antibiotics, and slow the emergence of resistant bacteria, among other things. GAO was asked to review federal efforts to address antibiotic resistance. This report examines federal efforts and challenges related to (1) surveillance of antibiotic resistance, (2) the development and use of diagnostic testing to identify antibiotic resistance, (3) the development of treatments for resistant infections, and (4) appropriate antibiotic use. GAO reviewed literature and agency documents; interviewed agency officials and health care industry, drug industry, and other stakeholders; and held a meeting of international and U.S. experts to obtain their views.
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