It comes after reports that drug-resistant bacteria killed almost 1.3 million people in 2019, according to estimates. That is more than some of the
It comes after reports that drug-resistant bacteria killed almost 1.3 million people in 2019, according to estimates. That is more than some of the most prominent diseases like HIV or malaria. And in the same year, antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections played some role in 4.95 million deaths, researchers have estimated.
The study was funded by the Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
It prompted a concerning response from the WHO.
It called antibiotic resistance “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today”.
The organisation added that the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is speeding up the process.
Antibiotics are most commonly used to treat or prevent bacterial infections.
But the overuse and misuse of antibiotics can have fatal consequences.
They are not supposed to be used to treat viral infections like colds as they are not effective treatments.
But the overuse and misuse of these drugs mean bacteria have evolved to become resistant to these infections.
Now, this resistance is threatening our ability to treat common illnesses.
This can lead to longer hospital stays and increased mortality rates.
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The study took 471 million individual records from 204 countries and territories.
And it analysed data from existing studies, hospitals and other sources.
Its estimates were based on the number of deaths caused by and associated with bacterial AMR for 23 pathogens (organisms that cause disease) and 88 pathogen-drug combinations.
Lower respiratory infections like pneumonia were the “most burdensome infectious syndrome” relating to bacterial AMR.
These were responsible for 400,000 deaths according to the report.
And bloodstream infections and intra-abdominal infections were the second most burdensome.
Combined, the three syndromes were responsible for nearly 80 percent of deaths caused by AMR.
E. coli and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) were some of the most drug-resistant bacteria that led to the most deaths.
MRSA caused 100,000 deaths in 2019.
The study found that 16.4 deaths in every 100,000 were attributable to drug-resistant bacteria in 2019.
Deaths associated with, but not directly caused by, bacterial AMR were responsible for 64 in every 100,000 deaths in 2019.
The research paper said: “Our findings clearly show that drug resistance in each of these leading pathogens is a major global health threat that warrants more attention, funding, capacity building, research and development, and pathogen-specific priority setting from the broader global health community.”
The researchers stressed that more intervention is needed to reduce these deaths.
They suggested reducing human exposure to antibiotics in meat as one possible measure.
The researchers also suggested limiting the unnecessary use of antibiotics.
Stopping the need for antibiotics through vaccination programs and vaccine development was also suggested.
The study results were published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet on Wednesday.