Superbugs kill 33000 in Europe every year

08 Novembre, 2018, 15:20 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • A team of scientists in Australia warned in September of the spread of a bacteria staphylococcus epidermidis immune to all known drugs

Specialists estimate that around 70 percent of bacteria that can cause infection are already resistant to at least one antibiotic that is commonly used to treat them.

The "burden of infection" - measured in the number of cases, attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) - of these superbugs is equivalent to that of flu, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which conducted the research.

The study looked at 16 antibiotic resistant bacteria, rather than all AMR infections, so the figures are likely to underestimate the true toll, said experts.

It found that around 75 percent of the burden of superbug disease is due to infections contracted in hospitals and health clinics - known as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). It added that due to variations in the numbers of cases and the types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria causing infection in different countries, prevention and control measures need to be tailored to national situations.

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The study found that drug-resistant E. coli infections were the most common superbug, linked to 297,00 cases and 9,000 deaths across Europe in 2015.

Researchers said: "Even if one considers its large and ageing population, it is notable that about a third of the deaths due to infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the European Union and EEA were in Italy". The phenomenon "is worrying because these antibiotics are the last treatment options available", the ECDC said in a statement. It added: "When these are no longer effective, it is extremely hard or, in many cases, impossible to treat infections".

As consumption of antibiotics soars globally, doctors have frequently sounded the alarm over multidrug-resistant bacteria strains.

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