The rapid rise in antibiotic resistance during the past decade can now be visualized using ResistanceMap, a new online tool that lets you see regions of the country where the problem is particularly severe. Drug resistance is the ability of bacteria like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to survive a treatment course with an antibiotic.
ResistanceMap was created by Extending the Cure, a research project supported by RWJF's Pioneer Portfolio. The maps show some dramatic trends, including how resistance to popular antibiotics like methicillin and ciprofloxacin has risen sharply between 2000 and 2009 among common microbes. For example, the tool shows that MRSA rates rose sharply in the United States over that period, eventually reaching levels of resistance at or greater than 60 percent in the South East Central region of the country.
Other trends between 2000 and 2009 include:
Policy-makers and researchers can use the maps to identify regions in urgent need of comprehensive efforts to curtail the spread of superbugs, such as better infection control, enhanced surveillance, and better antibiotic stewardship.
Extending the Cure works to develop effective policies to curb antibiotic resistance, based on the understanding that antibiotics are a shared resource that must be conserved. Infections caused by drug-resistant organisms kill an estimated 100,000 people in the United States every year.
ResistanceMap will be updated monthly and will soon include interactive features, updated data on resistance rates in other countries, and new rates of U.S. antibiotic use.