The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) says it strongly supports legislation introduced today by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) — the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act — that will strengthen U.S. government responses to this growing public health crisis. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a significant threat to patient safety, public health and even national security. Federal response is necessary to improve prevention, detection, tracking and treatment of infections caused by dangerous multidrug-resistant pathogens.
AMR makes an increasing number of infections difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat. Because so many medical procedures—from cancer chemotherapy to joint replacements, from solid organ and bone marrow transplants to the care of preterm infants—rely upon the availability of safe and effective antibiotics, resistant pathogens will dramatically turn back much of modern medicine’s progress if the status quo continues.
Public health emergencies can also become even more devastating due to AMR. Many hospitalizations and deaths attributed influenza are actually due to secondary bacterial pneumonia, which can be more challenging to treat due to resistance. While our current influenza season is particularly harsh, the toll would be even higher in an influenza pandemic. Similarly, in a mass casualty event, wounds and burns can quickly become infected. Increasing resistance rates and our dwindling antibiotic arsenal will make those infections harder to treat.
Brown’s bill builds upon bipartisan investments in addressing AMR by reinforcing our public health capacity for prevention, detection and tracking antibiotic resistance threats. Robust pathogen and disease surveillance are essential to allow clinicians, scientists, and public health experts to mobilize rapidly against emerging threats and to assess the impact of interventions. The STAAR Act would also drive the implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs in health care facilities that have proven to improve patient outcomes while lowering inappropriate antibiotic use that causes the development of resistance. The legislation would also strengthen research on AMR to help ensure the availability of evidence-based techniques and innovative tools to combat AMR.