Superbugs resistant to antibiotics to 'kill millions'

Drug-resistant bacteria killed more than 33,000 people in Europe in 2015 according to new research published separately this week

Drug-resistant bacteria killed more than 33,000 people in Europe in 2015 according to new research published separately this week

A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also said that over the next 30 years superbugs could kill 1.1 million people in North America and Australia and 1.3 million in Europe.

SantéL'OECD is concerned about the costs in lives and financial of the increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.

. Often called antimicrobial resistance or AMR, the problem has grown in recent years as bugs resistant to multiple drugs have developed and drugmakers have cut back investment in this field.

The World Health Organization has warned that unless something drastic is done, a post-antibiotic era - where basic healthcare becomes life-threatening due to risk of infection during routine operations - could arrive this century.

An estimated 90,000 Britons will die by 2050 from infections that are treatable unless effective action is taken to deal with drug-resistant microbes, researchers say.

The OECD says short-term investment would stem the rise of superbugs and would save lives and money.

"These bacteria are more expensive than the flu, hiv / aids, tuberculosis (tb)".

Three out of four deaths could be averted by spending just $2 (€1.75) per person a year, the OECD calculated.

In other countries the problem is significantly worse - in Italy the death rate per 100,000 people is 18.17, more than double that of the closest other nation, the United States, where the figure is 8.98. As laid out in the report, the OECD recommends a five-pronged approach to AMR: Promotion of better hygiene, an end to over-prescription of antibiotics, rapid testing for patients to determine viral or bacterial infections, delays in prescribing antibiotics, and mass media campaigns. It has been decades since a new class of antibiotics was brought on to the market, and...

It found some reasons for cautious optimism, with the average growth of drug resistance slowing down across the OECD, but added there were "serious causes for concern". Resistance is already high and projected to grow even more rapidly in low and middle-income countries. Furthermore, in countries that are not members of OECD, such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Russian Federation, resistance levels are notably higher and rate of AMR growth is forecasted to be four to seven times higher than that of OECD member countries between now and 2050.

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