Antimicrobial Resistance Rising Around The World
Antimicrobial resistance is a growing problem around the world. According to a new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), some countries are already spending an average of 10 percent of their healthcare budgets on treating antimicrobial-resistant infections. Drug-resistant bacteria killed more than 33,000 people in Europe in 2015. Roughly 29,500 persons die each year in the United States from these types of infections.
The problem is getting worse. Resistance for the eight types of antimicrobial-resistant infections found in the US has increased from 20 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2015. Earlier this year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned it had detected 221 strains of a rare bacteria that is virtually untreatable by antibiotics.
Unless more is done to stem antibiotic resistance about 2.4 million people in North America, Europe, and Australia could die from superbug infections over the next three decades. In the United States alone, it is estimated that antimicrobial resistance will kill about 1 million people and result in $65 billion in health-care costs by 2050. The report estimates that between 2015 and 2050, antimicrobial resistance would cost about $3.5 billion per year in the 33 countries included in the analysis.
There are a number of ways proposed to deal with antimicrobial resistance. One way would be ending the overprescription of antibiotics to both people and animals. Antibiotics are commonly used as a preventative measure on farms to prevent illnesses from spreading through the flocks or herds. Another part of the program would be creating more public awareness campaigns about the issue.
There is the potential for enormous health and economic consequences if action is not taken. These types of infections are particularly deadly in infants, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses. Men are more likely to develop resistant infections than women. The fatality rate for these types of infections is about 50 percent.