Health Problems

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria now claiming 33,000 lives annually

An ECDC study estimates the burden of five types of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria of public health concern in the European Union and in the European Economic Area (EU/EEA). The burden of disease is measured in number of cases, attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). These estimates are based on data from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net) data from 2015.

The authors said, “The estimated burden of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU/EEA is substantial compared to that of other infectious diseases, and increased since 2007. Strategies to prevent and control antibiotic-resistant bacteria require coordination at EU/EEA and global level. However, our study showed that the contribution of various antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the overall burden varies greatly between countries, thus highlighting the need for prevention and control strategies tailored to the need of each EU/EEA country.”

The study estimates that about 33,000 people die each year as a direct consequence of an infection due to bacteria resistant to antibiotics and that the burden of these infections is comparable to that of influenza, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined. It also explains that 75 percent of the burden of disease is due to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and that reducing this through adequate infection prevention and control measures, as well as antibiotic stewardship, could be an achievable goal in healthcare settings.

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