The first global assessment of deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections has revealed the scale and impact of antimicrobial resistance across the world

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An estimated 1.2 million people died in 2019 from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, accounting for almost as many deaths as HIV/AIDS and malaria combined, according to research published in The Lancet.

The analysis of data from 204 countries and territories is the first comprehensive assessment of the global burden of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The data showed that six leading pathogens accounted for the majority of deaths: Escherichia coliStaphylococcus aureusKlebsiella pneumoniaeStreptococcus pneumoniaeAcinetobacter baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. 

Across all pathogens, resistance to fluoroquinolones and beta-lactam antibiotics accounted for more than an estimated 70% of deaths caused by AMR.

Study co-author Professor Chris Murray from the University of Washington, USA, said: ‘These new data reveal the true scale of antimicrobial resistance worldwide, and are a clear signal that we must act now to combat the threat. Previous estimates had predicted 10 million annual deaths from antimicrobial resistance by 2050, but we now know for certain that we are already far closer to that figure than we thought.

‘We need to leverage this data to course-correct action and drive innovation if we want to stay ahead in the race against antimicrobial resistance.’

This article was originally published on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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