The United States has fallen behind many Western European nations in controlling the spread of certain drug-resistant microbes or "superbugs," according to ResistanceMap, an interactive web-based tool that tracks drug resistance in North America and Europe.
The latest version of the online maps shows that despite significant gains in limiting the spread of hospital acquired Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the United States still has one of the highest MRSA rates in the Northern Hemisphere—putting it far behind other developed European countries. MRSA is an example of a resistant microbe, one that can cause infections that are difficult to treat, if they can be treated at all.
In addition to global comparisons, these maps focus in on the United States, telling the story of resistant microbes as they have evolved over the last decade across the nation and within U.S. census divisions and specific states.
Key findings include:
Policymakers, researchers and healthcare workers can use these online maps to identify regions in the country or the world that might need tighter infection control. Such maps might also help researchers find models of infection control that could be used to curtail the spread of emerging superbugs, an increasingly urgent need in a world where global travel means resistant microbes can easily spread from one place to the next.
ResistanceMap is a project of Extending the Cure, a research and consultative effort that examines policy solutions to address the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. The project is based at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy in Washington, D.C. and is partially funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio.