Superbugs to kill millions by 2050 unless countries act

09 Novembre, 2018, 15:35 | Auteur: Yves Courtet

Describing drug resistance as "one of the biggest threats to modern medicine", the OECD said, however, that if nothing is done, superbugs could kill some 2.4 million people in Europe, North America and Australia alone over the next 30 years. "The report 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"..."

That claim is backed up by the World Health Organisation, which says that unless something is done a post-antibiotic era could arrive this century whereby basic healthcare could become life-threatening due to the risk of infection during recent operations.

Drug-resistant bacteria killed more than 33,000 people in Europe in 2015, according to new research published separately this week. "The public health package could pay for itself within just 1 year and end up by saving $4.8 billion of dollars per year in OECD countries".

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.

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A short-term investment to stem the superbug tide would save lives and money in the long run, the report notes.

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.

Better hygiene, ending the "over-prescription" of antibiotics and enhancing rapid testing for patients to ensure they are being prescribed the right drugs are some of the measures that could overcome the threat, the OECD said.

More worrisome still, "resistance to antibiotics prescribed in second-or third-line should be greater than 70% in 2030 to levels in 2005". The problem of resistance is growing 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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