Reuters Investigates recently published a multi-part exposé on antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or "superbugs" linked to excessive use of antibiotics. Noting that there is no national database of outbreaks, the reporters filed public records requests in every state to determine how outbreaks of potentially deadly pathogens are being handled. The results were not very promising.
For one thing, only 29 states provided any information at all. The others claimed to have had no outbreaks or to be prohibited by law from sharing the information. The reporters sent additional information requests and drew from academic literature to fill in the picture, and they ended up with one of the most comprehensive counts of superbug outbreaks ever created, albeit one lacking some very desirable information. For example, it wasn't possible to determine how many people have been sickened or killed by drug-resistant bacteria.