In a recently published report on antibiotic threats in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classified pathogens as urgent, serious, concerning, or put them on a “watch list.”1

The pathogens were assessed and categorized according to factors that include the following:

• Clinical effect

• Economic effect

• Incidence

• 10-year projection of incidence

• Transmissibility

• Availability of effective antibiotics

• Barriers to prevention

“The assessment focused on domestic impact, but the international context of antibiotic resistance was taken into account in the 10-year incidence projection,” the CDC noted. “Threats assigned to the urgent and serious categories require greater attention and action.”

Urgent Threats

• Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter

Candida auris

Clostridioides difficile

• Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)

• Drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Serious Threats

• Drug-resistant Campylobacter

• Drug-resistant Candida

• Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae

• Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE)

• Multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa

• Drug-resistant nontyphoidal Salmonella

• Drug-resistant Salmonella serotype Typhi

• Drug-resistant Shigella

• Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

• Drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae

• Drug-resistant Tuberculosis

Concerning Threats

• Erythromycin-resistant group A Streptococcus

• Clindamycin-resistant group B Streptococcus

Watch List

• Azole-resistant Aspergillus fumigatus

• Drug-resistant Mycoplasma genitalium

• Drug-resistant Bordetella pertussis


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States 2019. Available at: Accessed Dec. 9, 2019.