Every day, we race against a threat we can’t see. Bacteria and fungi are everywhere in our environment. They’re on our hands, on our new puppy’s fur, and on the meal we’re about to cook. They move as we move, constantly adapting to ensure survival. We figure out ways to stop infections before they start, like vaccines and sanitation, and develop new ways to treat them, like new antibiotics. But germs are always evolving, and they can develop new defenses against antibiotics. Keeping up can feel like swimming against a current. When we make our drugs more powerful, the success is only temporary. Bacterial and fungal illnesses grow harder and harder to treat, sometimes becoming deadly. Whenever we use antibiotics, only some germs will die. The most resistant can survive and spread. These germs then adapt in multiple, clever ways occasionally combining several types of defense: Modifying or destroying the drug when they come in contact with it, disguising themselves so the drug doesn’t recognize them as a threat, or passing information to other germs through gene transfer. When germs share and combine defense strategies, they adapt and some can become completely untreatable with existing antibiotics. So, researchers create new drugs, working harder than ever to treat the same infections. The new antibiotics might save lives, but we can’t slow down to catch our breath. Every day, we can stop the spread of germs and prevent infections to keep people safe. That’s why infection prevention is so important. If you prevent the infection, you don’t need the antibiotic. And when the antibiotics are needed, improving how we use these drugs in humans and animals will help in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Unnecessary or improper antibiotic use can harm humans and animals. and can also speed up the development of antibiotic resistance. By improving how we use and prescribe antibiotics, and by responding at the first sign of resistance, we can help antibiotics stay powerful for when they’re truly needed. Combating antibiotic resistance requires ongoing commitment if we want to stay ahead. CDC is leading the public health response in the U.S., but the world needs an aggressive and coordinated response to combat antibiotic resistance globally. Germs will continue adapting. Infections could become even more deadly. and antibiotics could lose more of their power. But through constant effort, we can save lives and preserve antibiotics for future generations. Let’s stop germs from winning this race.