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Public Statements

Slaughter Issues Urgent Call for Federal Action on Antibiotic Overuse

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Rules, today responded to a recent National Institute of Health report on the spread and containment of "superbugs' by calling on the federal government to take strong steps to prevent the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

"We must do everything possible to stop superbugs from developing in the first place," Slaughter said. "The good folks at NIH did everything they could to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it still wasn't enough. I can't think of a clearer case for preventing the overuse of antibiotics and preserving medicine for the protection of human health. What we have here is a canary in the coal mine."

Yesterday, NIH researchers published an article in the scientific journal Science Translational Medicine, entitled "Tracking a Hospital Outbreak of Carbapenem-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae with Whole-Genome Sequencing." The research focused on the containment efforts and eventual spread of a strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria at the NIH Clinical Center in 2011 that affected 18 patients, six of which ultimately died as a result of the bacteria. The outbreak was finally contained and resulted in new insights on how to improve preventive measures and tracking the origin of an outbreak.

"The FDA could learn a thing or two from the researchers at NIH, and start taking the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria seriously," said Slaughter. "For over 35 years the FDA has failed to act on an overabundance of scientific evidence that superbugs can be linked to the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals. The American people are increasingly concerned about the spread of superbugs and rightfully demand federal action on this looming public health crisis."

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