The overuse of antibiotics for patients in U.S. hospitals is contributing to the rise of so-called superbugs, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"This is a real public threat," said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, associate director for health care-associated infection prevention programs at the CDC, who spoke to CNBC by phone.
The dangers from overprescribing antibiotics in hospitals are twofold, Srinivasan explained. First, patients may not need them and could suffer side effects. More important, however, is the danger of creating drug-resistant bacteria, known as superbugs, that are becoming increasingly commonplace.
"This is specific to the patients who get overprescribed," he said. "They run the risk of being susceptible to the superbugs at some point."