CDC projects major health concerns for 2014 - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

CDC projects major health concerns for 2014

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As 2013 comes to a close, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (DCD) is preparing for the projected health threats of 2014.

The CDC is reporting a year of medical triumphs after breakthroughs in international HIV treatments, and helping over 1 million people quit smoking.

Officials say the progress is a result of public education. They have been able to have success fighting many medical threats this year. Looking forward, they will follow the same plan of action.

However, 2014 may be presenting a new set of threats. Topping the list: Antibiotic Resistance.

"The antibiotic resistance is a major concern," says Dr. Julie Roberts, a Family Physician in Columbus. "We've actually gotten to the point where we have barely any antibiotics left coming down the pipes to fight these major resistant organisms."

Roberts says multi-resistant bacterial infections that are usually contracted in nursing homes, and hospitals are at the top of the list of concerns.

"Every antibiotic they've been exposed to, they've learned to fight," explains Roberts.

This creates bigger, stronger bugs. For example, MRSA continues to evolve to become resistant to the antibiotics that are created to fight the bacteria.

The CDC reports at least 23,000 people die each year from these resistant infections. One main cause for antibiotic resistance is the misuse or unnecessary use of medications.

"People come in all the time for the common cold or flu, things that really can't be treated by antibiotics, and they expect to get one from their doctor," says Roberts. "I would say about 50 percent of all antibiotics that are given weren't really needed."

Roberts says everyone can do their part by washing their hands frequently to get rid of the bad bacteria.

"The other [step] is to stay vaccinated," Roberts says.   

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is another major concern the CDC has for 2014. Officials say the HPV vaccination rates are well below the national goal, leaving an entire generation susceptible to HPV-related cancers.

"Ages 11 and 12 are the target population, because based on statistics, that would be before they become sexually active," says Dr. Timothy Villegas, an OBGYN in the Chattahoochee Valley area. "It's usually within about three to six months of their first sexual activity. It's the most common time people are being exposed to HPV for the first time."

HPV can cause serious health problems, including genital warts and certain cancers.

Click here for more information on the CDC projections and concerns for 2014.

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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