The reason businesses resist making new antibiotics is rational: The drugs are expensive to develop but are used briefly by most patients and are aimed at pathogens that eventually learn how to build up a resistance to them.

As a result, there have always been relatively few antibiotic products in development, and now — gauging by what is in the pipeline — “none of them really is going to be active against these bacteria in the near term,” said Dr. Gary A. Roselle, national director of the Infectious Diseases Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system.

“Incentivization” for drug development that may not have major monetary success is a big topic of discussion, added Dr. Roselle, who works at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cincinnati. But in the meantime, “The current goal has to be prevention, wherever possible,” he said.

Public warnings have been issued about multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and gonorrhea, and a hospital-associated infection known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.