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Obama Announces Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

FILE - President Barack Obama says that if medicines diminish in effectiveness because of increased resistance in bacteria, "we're going to have problems."

President Barack Obama on Friday announced a new five-year plan to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, saying it is one of the most serious public health issues faced today.

Obama told reporters at the White House, before meeting privately with his advisers on science and technology, that people take antibiotics for granted for a lot of illnesses.

"If we start seeing those medicines diminish in effectiveness, we're going to have problems,'' he said.

Germs can become resistant to antibiotics through repeated exposure, making the bacteria immune to typical medicines.

The president's plan includes working to prevent the spread of resistant bacteria, improving the monitoring and diagnosing of bacteria-resistant strains, and improving research into new drugs. He offered few details about the new plan.

Obama also said the solution is not just finding new antibiotics. "It’s also making sure that we're using antibiotics properly. ... There are a whole range of reasons why bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to our traditional treatments."

Critics said his plan does not adequately tackle the use of antibiotics in farming.

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