California may be the first state in the nation to require providers to report deaths caused by antimicrobial-resistant infections, also known as superbugs.
State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Francisco) has introduced a bill that would allow the state to monitor and track deaths related to such infections.
A patient's death certificate would list any infection related to death.
Every year, providers would have to report to the California Department of Public Health the number of patients who died as a result of superbugs, the type of infection that caused their death and the number of patients who tested positive for the infections.
The bill comes as concern over the rise of antimicrobial-resistant infections grows. The United Nations General Assembly met recently to discuss the issue, marking only the fourth time the group has convened to discuss a health crisis.
Health experts have warned that developing and overprescribing lucrative drugs rather than cheaper antibiotics has led to a rise in antibiotic resistance. The World Health Organization compared the issue to “a slow-motion tsunami.”
An estimated 23,000 people in the U.S. die each year as a result of antimicrobial infections, and about 2 million people become ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.